NSAIDs Up Heart Risks in Healthy People

A Danish study has found that <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">NSAIDs—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—taken by healthy people for aches and pains could be increasing their risk of death from heart-related issues, said USNews HealthDay News. Currently, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warn patients with heart disease to use caution when taking these drugs, which include Advil and Motrin (generic: ibuprofen) and Voltaren and Cataflam (generic: diclofenac).

This first-of-its-kind study saw the same increased risk for those without cardiac problems, wrote USNews, citing the July issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, published online June 8.

“Very few studies have been designed to answer the important question: Do NSAIDs also increase the cardiovascular risk among healthy people who use these drugs for minor complaints?” said lead author Dr. Emil L. Fosbol, a cardiologist at Gentofte University Hospital in Hellerup, quoted USNews. “This study is the first to confirm that the cardiovascular risk is indeed increased when healthy individuals use some of the drugs,” added Dr. Fosbol.

Recently, the American Journal of Medicine discussed a study in which hearing loss was seen in men taking NSAIDs at an increase of nearly two-thirds. Also, last year, the makers of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications and fever reducers, including NSAIDs, were told by federal regulators to include new warnings on their labels about potential side effects, including stomach bleeding and liver damage. According to an FDA statement, the new warnings are required on OTC versions of NSAIDs.

New emerging NSAID risks, which were found in the recent review of national medical records for over one million Danes from 1997 to 2005, showed variances, said USNews, but revealed that participants with an average age of 39 and who took ibuprofen, experienced a 29 percent increased risk for stroke versus those not on NSAIDs. Diclofenac was linked to a 91 percent increased death risk from all cardiovascular diseases; rofecoxib (Vioxx) use was linked to a 66 percent increased risk, noted USNews. Aleve (generic: Naproxen) was not linked to an increased cardiovascular risk and a slightly decreased risk of death, said USNews.

Those on the largest diclofenac doses saw a two-fold increased heart attack risk while Vioxx was linked to a three-fold increased risk, said USNews. In 2004, Vioxx was taken off the U.S. market after a study linked it to increased risks for heart attack and stroke. “These findings are completely consistent with what we have found in patients with cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Michael E. Farkouh, a clinical cardiologist at Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Institute in New York City, said of the Danish study, quoted USNews. “Drugs that elevate blood pressure and are associated with a thrombotic [artery-blocking] effect can be harmful in patients who are otherwise healthy,” he added.

The study also found an increased incidence of major bleeding events, some deadly, from all NSAIDs except celecoxib (Celebrex), which also was not linked to an increased risk of coronary death or stroke, according to USNews.

USNews pointed out that Dr. Elliott Antman, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital said—in a statement issued by the AHA yesterday—that study findings were consistent with a prior AHA scientific statement issued in 2007 that discussed the increased risk of heart attack and stroke linked to NSAID use. Dr. Antman was the lead author of the 2007 paper.

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