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Over-the-counter medicines and bleeding risk


Medicines that you can buy over-the-counter to treat pain, colds, fever, and headache can place some patients at risk for bleeding. Patients that have low platelets, have a bleeding disorder, or are taking blood thinning medicine such as warfarin (Coumadin®) should try to avoid or limit these medicines.

Which over-the-counter medicines should be avoided?

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    • Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin IB®, Children’s Advil®)
    • Naproxen (Aleve®)
    • Ketoprofen
  • Aspirin (Bayer®, Bufferin®, Excedrin®, Goody’s® powder)
  • Multi-symptom cough and cold medicines
    • Advil Cold & Sinus®, Aleve Sinus®
  • Sleep aids and other medicines that include NSAIDs or aspirin
    • Advil PM®, Alka Selzer®, Pepto Bismol®
  • Many store brand products also contain NSAIDs. If you are unsure, ask a doctor or pharmacist to find out if the product should be avoided.

This list does not include all medicines that could increase the risk of bleeding. For more information, please talk to the Hematology Clinic staff.

Where do I find active ingredients on an over-the-counter medicine label?

Active ingredients are listed under drug facts on the label of over-the-counter medicines.

OTC label
OTC label


If you have questions, talk to your child’s doctor or pharmacist. To learn more about medicines that increase bleeding risk, call the Hematology Clinic at 901-595-5041. If you have an urgent need and cannot reach the Hematology Clinic because it is afterhours or a holiday, call the main St. Jude number 901-595-3000 and ask to speak to the hematologist on call. If you are outside of Memphis, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866278-5833).


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).