Aspirin-Prilosec duo brings double the risk

Pills and more pills. First you've got the pills you're supposed to take, and then you've got the pills you've got to take to deal with the side effects from the first ones.

It would be comical if it weren't so deadly.

Now, one company is trying to solve the problem -- not by cutting down on meds or making them safer, but by putting both a drug and the drug for its side effects together in one mega-pill.

How's that for missing the point?

The first drug is the aspirin millions of heart patients are told to take every day despite all the clear risks. These drugs have a long list of side effects, one of which is that daily use can leave your stomach in shreds.

If that's not enough, aspirin can cause heartburn -- so the second drug in the new pill is Prilosec, a proton pump inhibitor that's even more dangerous than aspirin.

As I've been warning you, PPIs can actually make stomach acid problems worse in the long run. It's a problem so common it has its own name: "acid rebound."

PPIs can also mess with your stomach acid levels so badly that some studies have found a link to the serious infection Clostridium difficile, and they're known to block the absorption of critical nutrients, including calcium and magnesium.

There's even evidence PPIs block aspirin, which could be why the new pill isn't the standard 81mg "baby" aspirin given to heart patients. It's a whopping 325mg instead.

So maybe you'll avoid the heartburn -- for now -- but at that dose, you'll have a much better chance of battling the many other side effects of aspirin, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and tinnitus.

What's crazy about all this is I'm sure the drug will be a big seller despite the fact that there's a much easier way to avoid heartburn and all the other risks of aspirin: Don't take the darned aspirin in the first place!

Ordinary cod liver oil can thin the blood every bit as effectively with none of the risks -- and you won't need a second pill to counteract it.