This evidence is shocking – we must think twice before taking these meds. A 2011 study included more than 83,000 heart attack patients. NSAID use was linked to a sharp increase in death risk. And this risk developed within just one week of beginning NSAIDs.
A 2012 study included 100,000 heart attack patients. Those who used NSAIDs were much more likely to have another heart attack within five years.
The death toll is shocking – about 12% of patients who didn’t use NSAIDs died within five years. Among NSAIDs users, 20% died.
When people think of NSAIDs, they usually think of ibuprofen or COX-2 inhibitors. But remember, aspirin is also an NSAID.
Unfortunately, this “therapy” is very common among heart attack survivors.
Common painkillers may significantly damage your hearing. In this analysis of the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study, researchers found that men who took acetaminophen at least twice each week DOUBLED their risk of hearing loss. And compared to men who used painkillers infrequently, regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen increased hearing loss more than 60 percent.
“Analgesic Use and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men” The American Journal of Medicine, Vol. 123, No. 3, March 2010, amjmed.com
“Common Painkillers Might Make You Hard of Hearing” Megan Brooks, Reuters Health, 3/5/10, reutershealth.com
Low dose Aspirin has long been proven in secondary prevention for patients with moderate to high risk of cardiovascular events, but its benefit in primary prevention of heart disease has been controversial. Thanks to an Italian study we now know that weighing the benefits of aspirin therapy against the potential harms, benefits seem to be lower than expected. Taking a daily low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease may actually increase the risk of major gastrointestinal (GI) or cerebral bleeding, Italian researchers found.
Daily prescribed aspirin was associated with a 55% relative increase in the risk of major bleeding — an excess of two bleeding cases per 1,000 patients treated each year colleagues reported in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers found that the overall incidence rate of hemorrhagic events was 5.58 per 1,000 person-years for aspirin users, compared with 3.60 per 1,000 person-years for those who didn’t use aspirin, which translated to a 55% higher risk of bleeding in those on aspirin.
The researchers observed an excess risk of both GI and intracranial bleeding.
In addition to aspirin use, the risk of bleeding increased with age and was higher in men; individuals treated with antihypertensive agents; patients taking prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); and patients taking other antiplatelet and antithrombotic agents.
NSAID’s are inexpensive, we have easy access to them, and they do help pain go away. BUT, are they safe?
Answer: Even short term use may increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Long-term use of prescription NSAIDs prompts well over 100,000 hospitalizations every year due to upper gastrointestinal adverse events. More than 16,500 of those patients die–every year!
One study found that NSAID use after age 60 may increase heart failure risk by 30 percent. And that risk rises sharply in the presence of other heart problems such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
Another potential side effect is stroke. Researchers out of Denmark (Gentofte University) followed prescription records for two “COX-2 selective” NSAIDs: Celebrex and Vioxx. Also followed: three “non-selective” NSAIDs: naproxen (Aleve), diclofenac (Cataflam), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
When prescription data was analyzed alongside hospitalization and death registry data, ibuprofen was linked with a 30 percent increased risk of stroke. Ibuprofen, used for a limited time by healthy people appears to significantly increase stroke risk.
Diclofenac may sharply increase stroke risk (more than 85 percent!), but that Aleve did not appear to increase stroke risk much at all. In all five medications, higher doses produced increased stroke risk.
Now you decide – what’s better, the natural anti-inflammtories I prescribes to you or these over the counter meds?