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I can't take aspirin to reduce my risk of heart attack and stroke. Is there an alternative?

Yes. But before considering aspirin therapy - or an alternative - you should talk to your doctor about how the risks and benefits apply to you.

A daily low dose aspirin tablet can reduce heart attack and stroke risk in people who have been diagnosed with heart disease or who have already suffered a heart attack, stroke, or near stroke (TIA). But many people can't take aspirin due to an allergy or safety concerns. If that's the case for you, there are a few options you can consider.

If you are allergic to aspirin or have a heightened risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding--because of an ulcer, a clotting disorder such as hemophilia or heavy alcohol use, for example--talk with your doctor about taking clopidogrel (Plavix and generic) instead. Our Best Buy Drugs project calls it a Best Buy for people who can't take aspirin. To learn more, see our free report on antiplatelet drugs at CRBestBuyDrugs.com.

In the case of an allergy, another option is talking to an allergist about undergoing desensitization therapy to make aspirin more tolerable.

If aspirin is safe for you but it irritates your stomach, talk to your doctor about adding a stomach-protecting drug such as lansoprazole (Prevacid, Prevacid 24HR, and generic) or omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC, and generic). Coated or "buffered" aspirin pills are touted as being gentler on the stomach, but some evidence suggests that they might not be as effective at preventing the clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. So stick with the uncoated tablets.

Related information:

Should I take aspirin to help prevent a heart attack or stroke?

Can I take Tylonel and a daily aspirin at the same time?

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