Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NSAIDs are a problem for Cardiac Patients

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.


mahjong said...

Cardiac diseases have nearly doubled in India. Cardiac Patients Association is the independent voice of the patient and carer. Cardiac patient to live a peaceful and regulated life.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure it is the anti-inflammatory medicine and not the underlying tendency for inflammation that is the culprit? Is the drug use just a marker?

Raymond Bouchayer said...

What is the other option if you have a toothache or headache or other pains.
Looks like what is on the counter at the pharmacy is pretty dangerous .

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Cardiac diseases is a general name for a wide variety of diseases. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S.

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