Medical

Painkiller Linked to Increased Risk of Major Heart Problems

Painkiller Linked to Increased Risk of Major Heart Problems

Researchers discovered within the first 30 days of taking the common painkiller, some patients experienced several cardiovascular events such as a flutter, heart failure, heart attack, or ischemic stroke.

The study ran from 1996 to 2016, during which time researchers found that starting diclofenac use caused an increased risk of serious cardiac events taking place within 30 days of starting the substance; this compared to taking other common NSAIDs or acetaminophen.

A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology focusing on 57,000 people residing in Taiwan also found that taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen could be linked to having an irregular heartbeat. Do you use Diclofenac?

Diclofenac is a NSAID used for treatment of pain and inflammation with the brand names Voltaren, Cataflam and Zipsor.

The European Society of Cardiology therefore carried out an extensive review of existing research that concluded that nonaspirin NSAIDs should not be prescribed to individuals at high risk of heart disease, nor should they be sold over the counter without issuing an "appropriate warning of their frequent cardiovascular complications".

To conduct this study, the researchers utilized the national registry data containing details on the 6.3 million adults residing in Denmark.

For those with the lowest baseline risk, starting diclofenac was associated with one extra event per 1000 patients per year, compared with those starting ibuprofen or naproxen; three extra events compared with those starting paracetamol; and four extra events compared with those taking no NSAIDs.




Diclofenac is a component which is frequently found in painkillers which are usually used to alleviate back pain, arthritis, and sciatica.

Furthermore, a connection between taking diclofenac and the increased rate of upper gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiac death was found. The risks were evident whether the participants took high, or low doses of the drug.

The researchers pointed out the absolute risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease still remained low for individual patients.

"Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects", they wrote.

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 is time to acknowledge the potential health risk of diclofenac and to reduce its use", Schmidt and colleagues wrote in their study, which was published on September 4.


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