A new study conducted by a group of European researchers and published in the British Medical Journal shows that people who actively take NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to treat pain are at a higher risk for heart attacks than those who do not use these types of drugs for pain relief.
The study looked at over 450,000 people from three different countries that suffered a heart attack. The people ranged in age, health condition, ethnic and economic backgrounds, and were from both sexes. What they discovered is that over 15 percent of these people recently begun taking NSAID prior to their heart attack.
The highest risk group was those that began the drug regiment a month prior to their heart attack and were using prescription strength pain killers. Those in the lowest group were taking over-the-counter (OTC)strength medications and took them infrequently. Those who took the medications most often, even OTC strength had higher risks of suffering a heart attack.
What Does This Mean?
At this point in time, researchers are not sure what their findings mean. They have discovered a connection between these pain medications and heart attack risk, now they have to learn why. Additional studies have begun to discover if this risk has anything to do with other health conditions, the reasons for taking the pain medications, or if something in these medicines themselves are what is causing the increased risk.
Anyone who is currently taking these medications regularly are encouraged to speak with their doctor about any risks that may be associated with their use.
If you are taking pain medications that are considered a NSAID, you are encouraged to take special care to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Make sure that you are eating right and that you get enough exercise each day to keep your heart strong. If possible, reduce use of these medications if your doctor approves and your condition allows.
NSAID drugs include: Voltaren, Rofecoxib, Celebrex, Ibuprofen, and Naproxin. These medications are available in prescription strength alone or mixed with other medications. Some of these medications are available over-the-counter in weaker strengths. Check all medications that you take to see if they contain these medications and then speak with your doctor.