Pentagon Pulls Aspirin from War Zones

Monday, May 04, 2009

Aspirin is great for people with heart problems, doctors will attest, but not so good for soldiers heading into combat zones. That’s why the Defense Department’s Army and Air Force Exchange Service is pulling all products containing aspirin from stores located on military bases, and why a top Pentagon health official has ordered troops to stop taking aspirin 10 days before deploying to places like Iraq or Afghanistan.

The problem with aspirin is that it thins the blood and reduces clotting. This is ideal for someone recovering from a heart attack or stroke, but the last thing a wounded soldier needs is for their blood to have too few platelets, which can increase hemorrhaging.
“If your platelets aren’t working, you are going to continue to ooze and ooze,” said Air Force Col. David Schall, the command surgeon at the U.S. European Command’s headquarters, in Stars and Stripes.
Aspirin will still be available to military personnel in combat zones, but only by prescription from a military doctor. Soldiers will still have over-the-counter access to aspirin alternatives like Tylenol because it does not have the same effect on blood.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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