NSAIDs Heart Risk Confirmed

A 2011 study confirmed the increased risk of heart attack and stroke linked to heavy use of NSAIDs. NSAIDs are a common medication used to relieve inflammation, pain, and fever. Types of these medications are widely available as both over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Heart HealthIn 2011 the University of Bern in Switzerland compared 31 different studies observing over 110,000 patients. The goal was to confirm the dangers of heart disease from NSAIDs, dangers which have been known for quite some time.  It was also to compare the medications’ individual effects.

The study determined that etoricoxib was the medication with the highest risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. Rofecoxib has the highest risk of heart attack. Ibuprofen has the highest risk of stroke.  Etoricoxib and rofecoxib are not available in most countries as their negative affects on heart health have been known for some time. Ibuprofen is available worldwide in both over-the-counter and prescription dosages.

It’s important to note, however, that the patients in this study were using high-dose, prescription medications. NSAIDs are often prescribed in high doses to manage the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The negative side effects on cardiovascular health are definitely dose-dependent. The study found that it is especially true of the drug celecoxib. Non-prescription doses or use only as needed are generally regarded as safe.

Naproxen seems to be one of the safest NSAIDs in regards to heart health. Aspirin is an NSAID that is an exception to this rule.  While aspirin can have fairly pronounced effects on the stomach, it does not increase the risk of heart disease. Many people actually take low-dose aspirin as a preventative measure against heart attack and stroke.  While effective in people with pre-existing heart conditions, current medical opinion doesn’t think that aspirin has any substantial effect on a healthy person.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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