This information will help you identify medications that contain aspirin, other NSAIDs, or vitamin E. It’s important to stop taking these medications before many cancer treatments. They affect your platelets (blood cells that clot to prevent bleeding) and can increase your risk of bleeding during treatment.
Other dietary supplements (such as other vitamins and herbal remedies) can also affect your cancer treatment. For more information, read the resource Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.
Instructions Before Your Cancer Treatment
If you take aspirin, other NSAIDs, or vitamin E, tell your healthcare provider. They’ll tell you if you need to stop taking it. You’ll also find instructions in the information about your treatment. Read the “Examples of Medications” section to see if your medications contain aspirin, other NSAIDs, or vitamin E.
Before your surgery
Follow these instructions if you’re having surgery or a surgical procedure. If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.
- If you take aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it 7 days before your surgery. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Don’t stop taking aspirin unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
- If you take vitamin E or a supplement that contains vitamin E, stop taking it 7 days before your surgery or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- If you take an NSAID or a medication that contains an NSAID, stop taking it 48 hours (2 days) before your surgery or as directed by your healthcare provider.
Before your radiology procedure
Follow these instructions if you’re having a radiology procedure (including Interventional Radiology, Interventional Mammography, Breast Imaging, and General Radiology). If your healthcare provider gives you other instructions, follow those instead.
- If you take aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to stop taking it 5 days before your procedure. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Don’t stop taking aspirin unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
- If you take an NSAID or a medication that contains an NSAID, you may need to stop taking it 24 hours (1 day) before your procedure. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.
Before and during your chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can lower your platelet count, which can increase your risk of bleeding. Whether you’re just starting chemotherapy or have been getting it, talk with your healthcare provider before taking aspirin, other NSAIDs, or vitamin E.
Examples of Medications
Medications are often called by their brand name. This can make it hard to know their ingredients. The lists below can help you identify medications that contain aspirin, other NSAIDs, or vitamin E.
These lists include the most common products, but there are others. Make sure your healthcare provider always knows all the prescription and over-the-counter (not prescription) medications you’re taking, including patches and creams.
|Common Medications Containing Aspirin|
|Aggrenox®||Cama® Arthritis Pain Reliever||Heartline®||Robaxisal® Tablets|
|Arthritis Pain Formula||Easprin®||Lanorinal®||Salocol®|
|Arthritis Foundation Pain Reliever®||Ecotrin® (most formulations)||Lortab® ASA Tablets||Sodol®|
|ASA Enseals®||Empirin® Aspirin (most formulations)||Magnaprin®||Soma® Compound Tablets|
|ASA Suppositories®||Epromate®||Marnal®||Soma® Compound with Codeine Tablets|
|Ascriptin® and Ascriptin A/D®||Equagesic Tablets||Micrainin®||St. Joseph® Adult Chewable Aspirin|
|Asprimox®||Excedrin® Extra-Strength Analgesic Tablets and Caplets||Norgesic Forte® (most formulations)||Synalgos®-DC Capsules|
|Axotal®||Excedrin® Migraine||Norwich® Aspirin||Tenol-Plus®|
|Azdone®||Fiorgen®||PAC® Analgesic Tablets||Trigesic®|
|Bayer® (most formulations)||Fiorinal® (most formulations)||Orphengesic®||Talwin® Compound|
|BC® Powder and Cold formulations||Fiortal®||Painaid®||Vanquish® Analgesic Caplets|
|Bufferin® (most formulations)||Gelpirin®||Panasal®||Wesprin® Buffered|
|Buffets II®||Genprin®||Percodan® Tablets||Zee-Seltzer®|
|Common NSAID Medications That Don’t Contain Aspirin|
|Advil®||Duexis®||Mefenamic Acid||PediaCare Fever®|
|Bayer® Select Pain Relief Formula Caplets||Ibuprofen||Nabumetone||Toradol®|
|Products Containing Vitamin E|
|Amino-Opt-E||Aquavit||E-400 IU||E complex-600|
|Aquasol E||D’alpha E||E-1000 IU Softgels||Vita-Plus E|
Most multivitamins contain vitamin E. If you take a multivitamin, check the label.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is generally safe to take during your cancer treatment. It doesn’t affect platelets, so it won’t increase your chance of bleeding. But, talk with your healthcare provider before taking acetaminophen if you’re getting chemotherapy.
|Medications Containing Acetaminophen|
|Aceta® with Codeine||Excedrin P.M.®||Primlev®||Vicodin®|
|Acetaminophen with Codeine||Fiorcet®||Repan®||Wygesic®|
|Aspirin-Free Anacin®||Lorcet®||Roxicet®||Xartemis XR®|
|Arthritis Pain Formula® Aspirin-Free||Lortab®||Talacen®||Xodol®|
|Endocet®||Panadol®||Tylenol® with Codeine No. 3|
Read the labels on all your medications
Acetaminophen is safe when used as directed. But there’s a limit to how much you can take in a day. It’s possible to take too much without knowing because it’s in many different prescription and over-the-counter medications. It’s often an ingredient in pain relievers, fever reducers, sleep aids, and cough, cold, and allergy medications.
The full name acetaminophen isn’t always written out. Look for the common abbreviations listed below, especially on prescription pain relievers.
|Common Abbreviations for Acetaminophen|
Always read and follow the label on the product you’re taking. Don’t take more than 1 medication that contains acetaminophen at a time without talking with a member of your healthcare team.