Common Pain Med Linked to Serious Heart Problems

iStock

The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac is associated with an higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and other serious cardiovascular events, according to an observational study published in BMJ that compared the drug to other pain relievers. Diclofenac is used to treat mild-to-moderate pain and relieve symptoms of arthritis, such as inflammation and joint swelling and stiffness.

Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark collected national registry data on more than 6.3 million Danish adults with at least one year of prescription information on record prior to the start of the study, in January 1996. They divided participants into low, moderate, and high cardiovascular risk groups at the start of the study.

After accounting for other cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that people who began taking diclofenac during the 10-year study period had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other major cardiovascular events within 30 days of starting taking the drug, compared to those who took other NSAIDs (ibuprofen or naproxen, for example) or acetaminophen.

The results confirm previous research about this type of pain-relieving medication, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has previously issued warnings about diclofenac and other NSAIDS associated with heart risks.

Sourced from: BMJ