Popular NSAID pain reliever linked to serious heart health risk

Daily Mail reported that researchers found that the increased risks applied to men and women of all ages and also to those who are taking low doses of the ingredient.

This is the first time the drug's cardiovascular risks were compared with those of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and naproxen, in large randomized controlled trials.

"Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects", the study authors said in a statement. "Considering its cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks, however, there is little justification to initiate diclofenac treatment before other traditional NSAIDs", the researchers concluded.

A review by European health officials confirmed the finding, and said patients should no longer use diclofenac if they have a heart condition, or have previously suffered heart attacks or strokes.

Are you anxious the medication you take could be impacting your overall health negatively?

Diclofenac is found in Voltaren, Arthrotec, and more treatments.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used to alleviate pain.

Diclofenac is a medicine that reduces inflammation and pain.

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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.

Now, a team from Denmark has uncovered evidence that people who use diclofenac, one of the most commonly used NSAIDs and one often available without a prescription, experience significantly more serious adverse events than those taking other NSAIDs or paracetamol (aka acetaminophen). 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.

Participants were split into low, moderate, and high baseline cardiovascular risk.

Diclofenac, marketed as Voltarol in the United Kingdom, has been linked with heart failure and irregular heartbeats, and has recently been withdrawn from sales over the counter in the United Kingdom due to concerns about side effects.

The authors point out that, although the relative risk was increased, the absolute risk remained low for the individual patient.

The additional cardiovascular events increased further in the high-risk group, with extra cardiovascular events seen in 39 out of 1000 patients per year, compared with no NSAIDs.

This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. But even so, researchers say that the risk is not really justified.

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