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 In 2004, the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib was withdrawn from the market after a trial found that the drug increased the risk of cardiovascular disease.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 October 21, 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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