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Asking About Aspirin

Aspirin is often called the wonder drug because it's used to treat and prevent many illnesses. But should you take it? If so, how many? And when?

Email Dr. Senay your questions now and she will answer them Wednesday, June 5, on The Early Show. Just write Senay in the subject line. Here are a few of them and her answers on this medical staple.

Question: If I'm at risk of having a heart attack and am taking a cholesterol lowering drug is, it okay to continue to use aspirin?

Dr. Senay: Yes. Just because you are taking a cholesterol lowering drug, it does not mean that you should stop taking your aspirin. Currently, there is no evidence that new drugs developed to treat high cholesterol also prevent heart attacks. Many doctors are afraid their patients will substitute these new medications, so this month a federal panel issued guidelines urging people not to forget their aspirin.

Question: Don't you have to be careful about what other medications you take with aspirin?

Dr. Senay: Yes. A recent study from the "New England Journal of Medicine" found that ibuprofen, which is the main ingredient in several popular over-the-counter pain relievers, might cancel out the heart healthy benefits you get from aspirin. So if you need to take an over-the-counter pain reliever and are on aspirin therapy stick to one that contains acetaminophen.

Question: Is aspirin for everyone?

Dr. Senay: People with aspirin allergies will want to avoid it, as will people with stomach ulcers. If you have more than three alcoholic drinks a day, your doctor will probably advise against an aspirin regime. It is also not recommended for people who have reduced liver or kidney function.

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