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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Painkillers ‘as lethal as Vioxx’ still on the market
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Painkillers ‘as lethal as Vioxx’ still on the market image

Painkillers as lethal as Vioxx—which reportedly killed 60,000 people before it was banned—are still available and are being taken by people every day, new research has discovered.

Vioxx was a COX-2 inhibitor painkiller—which is known to increase the risk of a heart attack—but there are other painkillers still on the market that increase the heart attack risk “to the same extent as several of the types that were taken off the market,” says Morten Schmidt from Aarhus University in Denmark.

Even some of the older generation painkillers, such as the NSAID (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug) Diclofenac, increase the risk of a heart attack.

Some of these drugs are even available without a prescription, and people are buying them every day, believing them to be safe remedies, often for common problems such as arthritis, says Schmidt.

Around 60 per cent of the adult Danish population has taken a prescription NSAID over the past 10 years, and 40 per cent of patients with heart failure or a history of heart attacks have also taken them.

The new study has involved 14 European universities and hospitals.


References

(Source: European Heart Journal, 2016; ehv505; doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv505)

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