As if people with the combination of high blood pressure and heart disease don’t already have enough to worry about, a new study suggests that common painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) pose special problems for them.
Among participants of an international trial called INVEST, those who often used NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, and others), or celecoxib (Celebrex) were 47% more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke or to have died for any reason over three years of follow-up than those who used the drugs less, or not at all. The results were published in the July issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
Millions of people take NSAIDs to relieve pain and inflammation. They are generally safe and effective. The main worry with NSAIDs has always been upset stomach or gastrointestinal bleeding. During the last few years, researchers have raised concerns that Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
New information published in Circulation advises against using any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in patients who have had a prior heart attack. These over-the-counter drugs are commonly used like Advil, Aleeve, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen. Using NSAIDs for even as little as one week was associated with a 45% increase for death or recurrent myocardial infarction (MI). The researchers could not identify a period that seemed to be safe, no matter how short.
The study used the Danish National Patient Registry and identified 83,675 patients who had a first MI between 1997 and 2006. The average age was 68 years and 65% were men. All the NSAIDs (except Naprosyn) used during the observation period were associated with an increased risk for death or new heart attack. Diclofenac (brand name Voltaren) was the worst.
Readers should not go away thinking NSAIDs cause heart attacks. This study looked at patients who had already had an MI. But for those patients, the over-the-counter pain relievers should be avoided. Many patients with heart disease also have arthritis or other pain syndromes. We need to come up with safe treatments for pain or use “safer” NSAIDs like low dose Naprosyn or Ibuprofen only when the benefit is weighed with the risk.
Just because something is sold without a prescription does not mean it is without risk. Tell your doctor every medication you take.
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*