Common Painkillers Increase The Risk Of Cardiac Arrest

Posted: Mar 18 2017, 7:58am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 18 2017, 11:38am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Common Painkillers Increase the Risk of Cardiac Arrest
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NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac are associated with a 31 percent increased risk of cardiac arrest, says study.

Common painkillers used by millions of people worldwide may increase the risk of cardiac arrest. 

According to a report published by European Society of Cardiology, popular painkillers such as ibuprofen, naproxen and other similar over-the-counter drugs may elevate blood pressure, put greater stress on heart and boost the odds of stroke and heart attack.

These medications belong to a family of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are widely used to ease pain from mild fever to chronic inflammatory diseases. These drugs are considered safe when used wisely and as little as possible, with some exceptions. But their excessive and persistent use can lead to a risk of developing serious heart issue.

“Allowing these drugs to be purchased without a prescription, and without any advice or restrictions, sends a message to the public that they must be safe,” said study author Professor Gunnar Gislason, professor of cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Denmark. 

“Previous studies have shown that NSAIDs are related to increased cardiovascular risk which is a concern because they are widely used.”

For the new study, researchers reviewed the medical records for 28,000 people in Denmark who had a cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2010. Of those, 3 376 were treated with an anti-inflammatory drug up to 30 days before the event. Researchers then compared the use of NSAIDs during this 30-day period before cardiac arrest to the use of NSAIDs during a preceding 30-day period without cardiac arrest. The results showed that the use of NSAIDs was linked with a 31 percent increased risk of cardiac arrest.

“The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless,” said Professor Gislason. “NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication. They should probably be avoided in patients with cardiovascular disease or many cardiovascular risk factors.”

Analysis also showed that Diclofenac and ibuprofen, both commonly used drugs, produced most devastating results in terms of cardiac arrest, leading up to 50% and 31% increased risk respectively. Naproxen turns out to be the best choice for a heart. Other NSAIDs were not associated with the occurrence of cardiac arrest, probably due to their lack of availability and use.

“Naproxen is the probably the safest NSAID and we can take up to 500 mg a day,” said Gislason. “Diclofenac is the riskiest NSAID and should be avoided by patients with cardiovascular disease and the general population.”

In the light of the findings, researchers recommend that NSAIDs should not be sold in supermarket or other such places where there is no expert is available to provide people guidance on drug use. If painkillers are needed to sell directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional, they should only be available at pharmacies, but in limited quantities and in low doses. If a person is in discomfort and needs a pain relief, it is best to consult a doctor.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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