When I read in the Daily Mail recently that ‘Taking painkillers increases risk of death to heart attack victims by 55%, The newspaper quoted an author of new drug research who said their results indicated that there is no apparent safe therapeutic window for patients with prior heart attack to take NSAID painkillers, a class of drugs that includes ibuprofen’. I could not help but immediately think about the amount of painkillers you are taking.
The NHS website stated that ‘the research used information gathered on 100,000 Danish people who had experienced their first heart attack between 1997 and 2006, calculating whether their use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) related to their risk of death or a second heart attack. The study found even short-term use was associated with an increased risk compared to not using the drugs, although the study could not calculate factors such as how dosage related to risk.
Current UK guidelines already state that NSAID drugs must only be used cautiously in people with heart conditions and should not be used at all in some cases. Previous research has recognised that NSAIDs increase the risk of cardiovascular complications including heart attacks and strokes. This is in line with this important studys findings that users of the drug had a higher risk of death or recurrent heart attack than non-users.
People with a history of cardiovascular problems such as stroke and heart attack should consult their doctor if they need to take painkillers, as they can advise them on their appropriate options’.
However, whether findings question NSAIDs or not, after losing my Mum to heart failure in her early 50’s it does make you think that they would take a full family history before putting you on long term drugs for pain relief. I don’t actually use NSAIDs not because of a possible heart problem but due to the fact that I have had ulcers in the past which are very well known to be caused through overuse of NSAIDs.