NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Painkillers and nonsteroidal drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and others are linked to increased risk of sudden heart attacks, according to a new study.
During the study conducted by the University of Copenhagen, the researchers analyzed the data of 3763 patients who had sudden heart attacks, and found that most of them took painkillers within 20 days of heart attack.
The data analysis showed that 51% of those with sudden heart attacks took ibuprofen while 31% took diclofenac. The researchers concluded that the use of painkillers was associated with an increased risk of heart attack.
The study recommended the need to restrict the use of painkillers and non-steroidal drugs and not to allow circulation to the public except by prescription and under the supervision of the doctor.
“Patients with cardiovascular problems should only use painkillers under the supervision of a physician,” said cardiologist Gunnar Gislasson.
A previous study published in the British Medical Journal has also linked painkillers and the risk of heart failure among older patients.
During the study, the researchers examined 10 million patients in the Netherlands, the UK, Italy and Germany aged 77 and over and compared them with non-users.
Research data showed that use of the pain reliever was associated with an increase of 19% in hospital risk of heart failure. The risk of admission associated with heart failure also varied with some analgesics, ranging from 16 percent for naproxen users and 83 percent for those who took keturolac. Patients taking ibuprofen and diclofenac were also twice as likely to have heart attacks. But the results were not significant for patients under the age of 65.
“This large observational study reinforces previous research showing that some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, a group of drugs commonly prescribed by patients with joint problems, increase the risk of infection,” said Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation. Heart failure, noting that such drugs should be used with caution in patients with heart disease or at risk of infection.
“The results of this study are a reminder for doctors to study how to prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs carefully, especially for cardiovascular patients, should take the lowest effective dose only for the shortest possible time,” Weissberg said. They should discuss their relationship with their GP if they have any concerns.
In 2013, a study showed that taking high doses of painkillers may increase the risk of a heart attack by a third. According to the study, ibuprofen users were twice as likely to have coronary artery problems.
A study published in 2014 revealed that 30-day non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were associated with an increased risk of stroke death. The results published in the journal Neurology showed that stroke-related deaths were 19 percent higher in patients taking painkillers than non-users.
The US Food and Drug Administration has asked drug manufacturers to refer to a heart attack and a stroke warning on existing painkillers. The agency also called for the modernization of non-steroidal non-steroidal anti-inflammatory labels.