A Common Painkiller Has Serious Heart Risks, Study Finds

Popular NSAID pain reliever linked to serious heart health risk

Popular NSAID pain reliever linked to serious heart health risk

The researchers advised that diclofenac should come with front of package warnings about its risks after the study found that patients who started diclofenac were at a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular events - such as heart failure, heart attack or atrial fibrillation - in the 30 days after starting the drug compared with those not taking the drug. The increased risks applied to men and women of all ages and also at low doses of diclofenac.

Ever since then, medical researchers have remained on high alert; wondering if any other drugs in this class - which includes aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve) - should be abandoned due to their cardiovascular risks.

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

The study explored the cardiovascular risk of one prescription drug Diclofenac and found it can cause serious problems for heart patients if taken for an extended period of time.

The latest research comes a year after a decade-long Danish study found ibuprofen, commonly sold as Nurofen and Advil, had been associated with a 31 per cent increased risk of cardiac arrest.

The researchers believe that people should finally recognize the potential health risks of the drug and reduce its usage.

Are you anxious the medication you take could be impacting your overall health negatively?


When results were analyzed by baseline cardiovascular risk, the absolute number of events per 1,000 diclofenac starters per year also increased.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said diclofenac should not be used by people with serious underlying heart conditions.

Prescribed under brand names such as Voltaren, Cambia, Pennsaid, Solaraze, Flector, Zipsor, and Dyloject, the new study finds taking this painkiller can increase your risk of both heart attacks and strokes. The rate of major adverse cardiovascular events was also 20% higher among diclofenac initiators than among those who started taking paracetamol, or ibuprofen, and 30% higher among diclofenac initiators than patients who started to take naproxen. 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.

The study, which comes out of Denmark's Aarhus University Hospital, looked at the data of adults who took prescriptions continuously for at least one year.

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

However it is still available over the counter in Australia in low doses. Scientists should also avoid using diclofenac as a reference point to compare other NSAIDs and painkillers against in safety trials, given its unique risks, they said.

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