Aspirin reduces inflammation, but it can cause stomach irritation. Stomach or intestinal bleeding caused by aspirin can be fatal. Risks for taking aspirin are stomach distress, especially related to bleeding and ulcers. Kidney damage is also a possibility. There are many risk factors for taking aspirin. People who are over 60 or who have preexisting conditions, such as stomach ulcers, bleeding problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease, should talk to their doctors before taking aspirin. Aspirin interacts with prescription blood thinners, diuretics, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants), all of which may increase bleeding risks.
In the past several years, some newer medications have come on the market; these are commonly referred to as COX-2 inhibitors . Remember, all NSAIDs work against cyclooxygenase (COX). Traditional NSAIDs (. Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve) work against both COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 and COX-2 are both types of cyclooxygenase enzymes that function in your body. The new medications (. Celebrex) work primarily against COX-2, and allow COX-1 to function normally. Because COX-1 is more important in producing the protective lining in your gut (gastric mucosa), these newer NSAIDs are believed to have less of a risk of causing stomach ulcers.