Common painkillers linked to heart attack and strokes

09 September, 2018, 04:57 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • The research claims that a common ingredient in Voltaren can increase your chances of having a heart attack by 50 per cent

The commonly used painkiller diclofenac is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, compared with no use, paracetamol use and use of other traditional painkillers, finds a study published by The BMJ.

It can cause heart failure and irregular heartbeats, according to the biggest study of this kind of six million people.

When all these simulated trials was averaged out, people who took diclofenac were 50 per cent more likely to have cardiovascular problems in the first 30 days after use than were people who took nothing. "In conclusion, our data support that initiation of diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk, both compared with no use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional NSAIDs".

Diclofenac is a traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for treating pain and inflammation and is widely used across the world.

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Using national population and prescription drug registries, they were able to look at the medical records of over 6 million Danish adults from 1996 to 2016. Some researchers suggest the risk means the drug should only be available as a prescription.

In the new study, Morten Schmidt at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark examined the cardiovascular risks of starting diclofenac compared with no non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) - other drugs in diclofenac's category.

For those at moderate risk at the start, they found 7 extra cardiovascular events with diclofenac compared with ibuprofen or naproxen; 8 extra events compared with paracetamol; and 14 extra events compared with no NSAIDs.

The increased risks applied to men and women of all ages and also at low doses of diclofenac, researchers said. Compared with taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, taking diclofenac raised cardiovascular risk by 20 percent. The researchers add that while the relative risk for heart issues was seen to increase, the absolute risk for patients stayed low.

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But the study's sample size is larger than most previous analyses of observational and randomised studies taken together and provides strong evidence to guide clinical decision making.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in June 2013 that the drug should not be used by people with serious underlying heart conditions-people who had suffered heart failure, heart disease or a stroke were advised to stop using it completely.

It's always important to discuss medication and the potential risks it will have on your health with a GP or health professional.

The researchers said that despite the potential side effects, treatment with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for improving the quality of life of patients suffering from pain and inflammation.

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