Most doctors agree that it is best to avoid use of aspirin and ibuprofen at the same time. For individuals who use low-dose aspirin therapy to help prevent clotting that could contribute to a heart attack or stroke, taking aspirin and ibuprofen together may prove problematic. Aspirin helps to thin the blood and prevent abnormal clotting, but ibuprofen counters this effect when taken with the aspirin. As such, taking these two drugs together should be avoided by patients who are taking aspirin for this reason. Additionally, mixing aspirin with ibuprofen may increase a person’s risk of suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding.
For most people, there is no need to take both aspirin and ibuprofen. When a person is attempting to relieve pain, he may simply use one of these medications rather than combining them. If neither will provide effective pain relief, he may choose another, more potent medication instead. Some people, however, take a low dose of aspirin on a daily basis in order to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. At times, these people may need to use another medication for pain and consider taking ibuprofen; in most cases, this is not the best choice.
Mixing aspirin with ibuprofen is a poor choice because of the effects a person can expect from each of these drugs. Aspirin is well known for its anti-clotting effects, and ibuprofen interferes with it, making it significantly less effective for this purpose. The interference of ibuprofen with aspirin may depend on how closely together a person takes the two medications, however. Generally, taking ibuprofen less than eight hours before taking aspirin or taking it less than 30 minutes after an aspirin dose has this negative effect.
Though it is usually best to avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen together, a single dose of ibuprofen taken along with aspirin is only associated with minimal risk. This means if a person needs pain relief and ibuprofen is the only medication available at the time, taking it once probably won’t cause a problem. The important thing, in such situations, is to avoid taking the medications too closely together. If an individual has a frequent need to take another medication for pain relief, he may do well to seek the advice of a doctor.
In addition to interfering with aspirin’s anti-clotting effect, taking these two medications together may cause other problems. Aspirin is associated with gastrointestinal irritation and bleeding. A known side effect of Ibuprofen is stomach or intestinal bleeding, so taking the medications together may compound this issue.