Common painkiller linked to major heart problems

08 September, 2018, 12:31 | Author: Veronica Peterson
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Researchers concluded: "Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs".

'It is time to acknowledge the potential health risk of diclofenac and to reduce its use.

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. The increased risks applied to men and women of all ages and also at low doses of diclofenac. Do you use Diclofenac?

All subjects who were not taking diclofenac were matched by propensity score to diclofenac users, meaning that the groups were created to mitigate influences from factors like age and pre-existing diseases.

The researchers worked to assess the cardiac risk associated with diclofenac in individuals who weren't taking any NSAIDs, who had started taking other common NSAID pain relievers, and who were taking paracetamol (acetaminophen), commonly sold under the brand name Tylenol. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the anti-inflammatory tablets carried a "small but increased" risk of heart problems.

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Diclofenac, a widely used global drug with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious cardiovascular problems, so its use should be done with moderation rather than for a long time. The risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding at 30 days of diclofenac use was similar to that associated with naproxen, but was 4.5-fold higher than it was among patients who didn't take NSAIDs and 2.5-fold higher than for paracetamol, or ibuprofen initiators. Researchers also said that the drug should come with an appropriate front package warning to inform users of its potential health risks.

The results also suggested that although the absolute risks associated with diclofenac use were highest in individuals who already demonstrated high baseline cardiovascular risk, the relative risk was actually highest in people with the lowest baseline risk.

Use of diclofenac, a commonly used NSAID for treating pain and inflammation, is linked to increased risk for cardiovascular events.

Dr Schmidt said: "Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects". They also think that it should not be made available over the counter anymore.

But its cardiovascular risks compared with those of other traditional NSAIDs have never been examined in large randomized controlled trials, and current concerns about these risks make such trials unethical to conduct.

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