Quality & Patient Safety

Irish Medicine Board requests wait between low dose-aspirin and ibuprofen use

Patient Safety Monitor: Global Edition, March 3, 2009

The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has asked that manufactures of the drug ibuprofen update its product information to advise a time period of eight hours between when patients take the drug and when they ingest low-dose aspirin, according to The Irish Times.

After research was done on the effects of taking ibuprofen and aspirin together, thousands of patients were warned that taking a common painkiller while taking aspirin to prevent against heart attacks and strokes could interfere with the anti-platelet effect of aspirin. With the ability to stop platelets clumping together to form clots in blood vessels, aspirin is normally subscribed to patients who have a history of cardiovascular disease. However, ibuprofen works to target the same enzyme (cyclooxygenase-1), that aspirin does, which could prevent aspirin from having an effect.

Joan Gilvarry, MD, director of Human Medicines with the IMB, told the Irish Times that “there is a potential risk [for patients] and to minimize this risk people should be careful about the timing of administration of both medicines."

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