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Taking Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke: Care Instructions

Overview

Aspirin and other antiplatelet medicines help prevent blood clots from forming. They can help some people lower their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

But these medicines can also make you more likely to bleed. That's why it's important to talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin every day. It's not right for everyone. And if you and your doctor decide these medicines are right for you, learn how to take them safely.

If you take aspirin, be sure you know how to take it. Your doctor can tell you what dose to take and how often to take it. If you take another antiplatelet, take it as prescribed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Before you start to take daily aspirin or some other antiplatelet, tell your doctor all the medicines and and natural health products you take.
  • Tell your doctors, dentist, and pharmacist that you take an antiplatelet.
  • Take your medicine as your doctor directs. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. If another doctor says to stop taking the medicine for any reason, talk to the doctor who prescribed it before you stop.
  • Take your medicine at the same time every day.
  • Do not chew or crush the coated or time-release forms of your medicine.
  • If you miss a dose, don't take an extra dose to make up for it.
  • Ask your doctor whether you can drink alcohol. And ask how much you can drink. When you take an antiplatelet, drinking too much raises your risk for liver damage and stomach bleeding.
  • If you are pregnant, are breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about what medicines are safe.
  • Talk with your doctor before you take a pain medicine. Many pain medicines have aspirin. Too much aspirin can be harmful.
  • Wear medical alert jewellery. This lets others know that you take an antiplatelet. You can buy it at most drugstores.
  • Try to avoid injuries that might make you bleed. For example, be careful when you exercise and when you play sports. Make your home safe to reduce your risk of falling.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.