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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

NSAID painkillers raise risk of heart failure—especially if you’re elderly
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

NSAID painkillers raise risk of heart failure—especially if you’re elderly image

Following on from the alert that codeine can be fatal in the under-18s, new research has discovered that other painkillers—the NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs), which include ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac—increase the risk of heart failure.

These common painkillers raise the risk by an average of 19 per cent, although the dangers are greatest among the elderly, say researchers who assessed the safety of the drugs on a group of around 10 million people with an average age of 77.

The risk varied with the NSAID and the dose, say researchers from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, who analysed healthcare databases from the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and the UK.

Using any NSAID for 14 days will increase the risk of heart failure by 19 per cent, but the risk doubled for diclofenac, indomethacin, piroxicam, and two of the COX-2 NSAIDs, etoricoxib and rofecoxib, especially if they were being taken at high doses.


References

(Source: BMJ, 2016; 354: i4857)

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