We sought to determine the short-term effects of use of aspirin and ethanol on fecal occult blood levels measured with the HemoQuant assay. A factorial design was used to study 68 healthy volunteers randomized to receive various doses of aspirin, ethanol, or a combination of both for either 1 or 3 days. Fecal hemoglobin concentrations were measured before and after drug ingestions. Moderate quantities of ethanol (300 ml of 5% or 30 ml of 50% three times nightly) did not cause significant fecal blood elevation unless aspirin was administered concomitantly (P = 0.05). High-dose aspirin alone, 975 mg three times daily, induced abnormal blood loss (P<0.01). The highest HemoQuant levels were usually noted after concomitant administration of aspirin and ethanol at maximal doses for 3 days (P<0.005), some HemoQuant levels approaching 5 times the normal value. We conclude that, in a short-term analysis, social consumption of ethanol is unlikely to interfere with fecal blood testing but therapeutic doses of aspirin will.
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