Heart Health

Evidence is mounting that common pain killers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be tied to greater risk for heart problems, reports The Independent (U.K.). Doctors have long been concerned that non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may play a role in heart failure, because they reduce the body’s ability to metabolize salt. To investigate that link, researchers in Italy examined the health records of 7.6 million people who had recently been treated with NSAIDs, and compared them with data on 8.2 million people who didn’t use the drugs.

They found that with the exception of celecoxib (Celebrex), NSAIDs raised the relative risk of heart failure by 19 percent. The higher the dosage of these drugs, the greater the risk. The researchers said the fact that these drugs could be bought over the counter fueled the misconception that they were harmless in high doses.

Peter Weissberg, from the British Heart Foundation, said the study “serves as a reminder to doctors to consider carefully how they prescribe NSAIDs, and to patients that they should only take the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.”

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