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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

After Heart Attack, Certain Painkillers May Raise Risk for Recurrence

Results of a Danish study found that people with a history of heart attack are at an increased risk of suffering another heart attack or death if they use certain types of prescription or over-the-counter pain medicines for even as little as one week. These drugs include Advil, Motrin or Voltaren. The study found that those taking certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) for one week have a 45 percent heightened risk of suffering another heart attack. For those on the drugs for 3 months, the risk increases to 55 percent.

The most common NSAIDs prescribed to study participants were ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren). Diclofenac carried the highest cardiovascular risk, even greater than rofecoxib (Vioxx), an NSAID banned in the United States in 2004 because of a higher rate of heart attacks and strokes among those taking it.

Dr. Elliott Antman, professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, says that if a heart patient also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis or Lupus, they should try non-drug pain relief methods, such as physical therapy, heat and splints, or other types of pain relievers before resorting to NSAIDs. It is important to talk to your doctor about all your medications so they know exactly what you are taking.

Check out these links for more information:

Chronic Pain Medications (American Academy of Family Physicians)

Medication Guide for Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (Food and Drug Administration)

Prescription Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications (American Academy of Family Physicians)

Pain Relievers Linked to Higher Risks of Heart-Related Deaths Among Healthy People (American Heart Association)

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