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Surgical risk from painkiller may be brief

Physicians often advise patients not to use painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen in the week or so before a planned surgery because those drugs inhibit blood clotting and can increase the risk of serious bleeding in the operating room. A mere day's worth of abstinence from these painkillers may suffice, investigators now say.

To simulate steady use of ibuprofen, Neil Goldenberg and his two colleagues at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Aurora gave 11 healthy, adult volunteers a 600-milligram dose of the drug three times daily for 7 days. They drew blood samples 40 minutes and then 8 and 24 hours after each volunteer took the final pill and tested each sample to see how quickly the blood's clot-forming particles, or platelets, would spring into action.

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