HYMS Logo We recently saw that use of NSAIDs could lead to spontaneous abortion. Now, a study by experts from the Hull York Medical School has revealed that the risk of heart attack or stroke could be up by a third if common painkillers like non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are consumed.

As part of the investigation, the information from almost 51 studies conducted in varied parts of the world was used. The analysts undertook a systematic review of controlled observational trials and found that individuals with heart problems or cardiovascular risk factors seemed to face growing risks of serious cardiovascular incidences such as heart attack or stroke if exposed to NSAIDs such as diclofenac and indomethacin. Some other NSAIDs like naproxen and low doses of ibuprofen did not appear to be linked to any risk.

“NSAIDs provide pain relief for millions of patients with chronic inflammatory disorders. The cardiovascular risk is well described but often overlooked. In choosing which one of the many available NSAIDs to use, patients and doctors would benefit from knowledge of the balance between benefit and harm for individual NSAIDs,” commented Lead researcher Dr Patricia McGettigan is from the Hull York Medical School (HYMS), a joint venture between the Universities of Hull and York and the NHS.

The outcomes show that naproxen is apparently the safest drug as far as cardiovascular health is concerned. The greatest risks were supposedly associated with diclofenac that showed a 40% increase in risk for heart attack. Both high and low doses could be dangerous as far as this drug goes. Low dose of ibuprofen was not presumably related to cardiovascular events. However, if doses above 1200mg were consumed per day, it seemed to imply an 80% increase in risk.

Additionally, the Newer ‘Cox-2 selective’ NSAIDs that are available only on prescription could be a potential risk factor for cardiovascular attacks. Rofecoxib was withdrawn since September 2004 due to its cardiovascular risks. Both high and low doses of Celecoxib appeared to be linked to cardiovascular problems. Etorocoxib posed even a higher degree of risk. The popular drug Indomethacin is used for the treatment of gout. Along with its other side effects, it also accounts for 30% cardiovascular risk that is touted to make its usage questionable.

The investigators conclude that physicians ought to consider a person’s background vulnerability to heart attack or stroke and calculate the additional risk due to NSAIDs. The study is published in PLoS Medicine.