I was playing and talking with a cardiologist, Dan Silverstein and asked him the pros and cons of taking some Aleve every day for minor aches and pains. He said that he takes two Naproxen one to two hours before playing tennis; and finds it eases the aches and helps him play better.
But he did caution that Aleve (naproxen) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that may interfere with the anti-platelet effect of aspirin, the mechanism by which aspirin affects its heart-protective effect. He told me that the drug interaction is clearer for ibuprofen but still possible for naproxen.
If you take ibuprofen at the same time you take aspirin, the anti-platelet effect of aspirin is blocked. Since naproxen has some anti-platelet effects of its own, the interaction with aspirin is less clear, with some studies showing an adverse effect, and others showing none.
If you must take both drugs, there may be a way to minimize the interaction. The aspirin anti-platelet effect is relatively irreversible. It takes about 48 hours for the effect to diminish, the time it takes for the body to produce enough new platelets.
The ibuprofen and naproxyn effects wear off after about 8-12 hours. Therefore, if you start by taking a baby aspirin at bedtime, your morning dose of “non-steroidal” should have minimal effect on the already “blocked” platelets. Also, since Naproxyn has some anti-platelet effects of its own, it might be the preferable drug.
Why Take Aspirin?
He also cautioned that someone “in as great physical shape as I am” probably doesn’t need to take a daily dosage of aspirin. If you have no risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as prior cardiovascular event, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, strong family history, cigarette smoking, or others, the potential risks of a daily aspirin, even a baby aspirin, such as the increased risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding might outweigh the small benefit of giving it to a perfectly healthy individual with a tiny risk of heart attack or stroke.
So take these words for what they are, understanding I am not a doctor (“Although I once played one in a movie”!); and consult yours with any real medical questions you may have.
Dr. Silverstein also cautioned me that he has been retired for about 10 years, so his free advice might not be worth much more than I paid for it!
The Pelican Bay Doubles Tournament
By the way, John Berry and I had a great match on Sunday’s 8.5 Combined finals vs. The Twin Towers of Mike Griner and Jack Moter (average height of 6’ 4”). In front of about 50 people (half watching, half drinking), they won the first set easy… we won the second set in a tie breaker … and they took the 10-point Champion’s Tie Breaker. It was a good format for fun tennis.