Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems

Date:
January 12, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Commonly used painkillers for treating inflammation can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to an analysis of the evidence.

The drugs include traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) as well as new generation anti-inflammatory drugs, known as COX-2 inhibitors.

The researchers say that doctors and patients need to be aware that prescription of any anti-inflammatory drug needs to take cardiovascular risk into account.

NSAIDs have been the cornerstone of managing pain in patients with osteoarthritis and other painful conditions. In 2004, the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib was withdrawn from the market after a trial found that the drug increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since then, there has been much debate about the cardiovascular safety of COX-2 inhibitors and traditional NSAIDs, which several studies have not been able to resolve.

So researchers in Switzerland performed a comprehensive analysis of all randomised controlled trials comparing any NSAID with other NSAIDs or placebo.

They included 31 trials and 116,429 patients taking seven different drugs (naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, etoricoxib, rofecoxib, lumiracoxib) or placebo to provide a more reliable estimate of the cardiovascular risks of these drugs than previous studies.

Overall, the number of harmful outcomes that could be compared for placebo versus treatment was low. In 29 trials there was a total of 554 heart attacks; in 26 trials there were 377 strokes, and in 28 trials there were 676 deaths. So the absolute risk of cardiovascular problems among people taking painkillers was low, but the researchers did find that, relative to placebo, the drugs carried important risks.

For instance, compared with placebo, rofecoxib and lumiracoxib were associated with twice the risk of heart attack, while ibuprofen was associated with more than three times the risk of stroke. Etoricoxib and diclofenac were associated with the highest (around four times) risk of cardiovascular death.

Naproxen appeared least harmful in terms of cardiovascular safety among the seven analysed preparations.

Although the number of cardiovascular events in the trials was low, the authors say "our study provides the best available evidence on the safety of this class of drugs." They conclude: "Although uncertainty remains, little evidence exists to suggest that any of the investigated drugs are safe in cardiovascular terms. Cardiovascular risk needs to be taken into account when prescribing any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug."

An accompanying editorial says these cardiovascular risks are worrying because many patients have both cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disease, and suggests that it is time for an evaluation of a broader range of alternatives.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Trelle, S. Reichenbach, S. Wandel, P. Hildebrand, B. Tschannen, P. M. Villiger, M. Egger, P. Juni. Cardiovascular safety of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: network meta-analysis. BMJ, 2011; 342 (jan11 1): c7086 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c7086

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111184132.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, January 12). Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111184132.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110111184132.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins