Health Care

Common painkillers linked to heart attack and strokes

Common painkillers linked to heart attack and strokes”

"Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs", the cardiologist said. During the follow-up period, between 1996-2016, the scientists eliminated other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in the subjects who participated in the study.

Controversial pill diclofenac also increases rates of heart failure and irregular heartbeat or flutter among men and women of all ages, according to the study. The researchers' paper is titled, "Diclofenac use and cardiovascular risks: series of nationwide cohort studies". With paracetamol, the difference is also huge - heart disease can be traced in the dynamics of the three times more than those who chose to Diclofenac.

The researchers reviewed the data of more than 6.3 million adults in Denmark which used either diclofenac or paracetamol to treat inflammation and pain.

For years, however, doctors have been anxious about diclofenac's potential heart risks.

"Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects", the authors in Denmark wrote. Diclofenac is a traditional NSAID that has similar selectivity for cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX 2) as COX 2 inhibitors, but the cardiovascular risks of diclofenac in comparison with other traditional NSAIDs have not been investigated through a randomized controlled trial.

Writing in The BMJ, he says diclofenac should only be available with a prescription, like in the United Kingdom - and only them when also accompanied with an appropriate warning on the front of the pack.

Researchers have found that diclofenac is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

Starting diclofenac was also associated with an increased rate of cardiac death compared with those taking no NSAIDs. The authors then compared the documented health issues that arose within 30 days in individuals given a course of diclofenac (1.3 million people) to those of 3.8 million people given ibuprofen, 291,490 given naproxen, 764,781 people given the non-NSAID pain reliever paracetamol, and 1.3 million people not prescribed any drug at all.

However, researchers point out that, while the relative risk increased significantly, the overall risk was still pretty small. They are now advocating that low dose ibuprofen or naproxen should be considered as comparators.

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.



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