Q. I suffer from heart disease and take aspirin and Plavix as blood thinners as well as Lipitor and fish oil to lower cholesterol. The medical literature suggests that ibuprofen interferes with the heart benefits of aspirin and may cause an increase in heart attacks. I need an anti-inflammatory drug for muscle aches and joint pain. What can I take safely?

A. Low-dose aspirin appears to protect against heart attacks, but NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren) might counteract this benefit. NSAIDs raise blood pressure, cause fluid retention and can worsen heart failure. Such drugs can be hard on the digestive tract and kidneys. They can also interact with Plavix to increase the risk of GI bleeding.

Acetaminophen may be a safer option, or you might want to consider food remedies. Many readers have found gin-soaked raisins, tart cherry juice, pineapple juice or grape juice mixed with vinegar or with Certo helpful.

For more details on such home remedies, anti-inflammatory herbs and topical NSAIDs, we are sending you our brand new Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.

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  1. Hazel

    I have low blood pressure & no heart issues. I do take naproxen for hip, knee, and shoulder joint issues. I heard a British report today that low dose aspirin can reduce the risk of cancerous cell development. Is the above answer applicable to this situation, i.e. not taking aspirin & naproxen at the same time? I do not find acetaminophen helpful in relieving my various joint discomforts. My doctor is aware of my daily two doses of naproxen.

  2. Brad

    Your muscle aches and joint pain may be caused by Lipitor.

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