According to a recent study published in The BMJ, people who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may have a higher risk of suffering from myocardial infraction (i.e., a heart attack) than people who do not take these medications.
What are Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of over-the-counter and prescription drugs that function as pain-killers and fever-reducers; when taken in high doses, these products also have anti-inflammatory effects. The most common and well-known NSAID products include:
According to the NIH, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen may cause ulcers, bleeding, and even holes in the stomach or intestine. Additionally, NIH also states that “these problems may develop at any time during treatment, may happen without warning symptoms, and may cause death. The risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time, are older in age, have poor health, or who drink three or more alcoholic drinks per day while taking ibuprofen.”
NSAIDs & Heart Attack Risk
Results from a recent study published in The BMJ suggest that taking certain NSAIDs may increase an individual’s risk of having a heart-attack. A warning recently published by the NIH states that “these events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time.”
The results published by The BMJ state that “taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of myocardial infraction. With use for one to seven days the probability of increased myocardial infraction risk (posterior probability of odds ratio > 1.0) was 92% for celecoxib, 97% ibuprofen, and 99% for diclofenac, naproxen, and rofecoxib.” The BMJ also notes that the documented risk of heart attack is greater for people who take higher doses of NSAIDs.
What the study concludes, is that all NSAIDs, including naproxen, were found to increase an individual’s risk of having a heart attack. The BMJ states that the risk is greatest during the first month of NSAID use, as well as with higher doses of the drugs.
Although this is a good start, many people in the science community feel that more research is needed in order to further validate these results. It will be very interesting to watch the future of these products unfold as additional research and studies are conducted.