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Pain Meds for More Pain

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There are certain drugs that are considered to be OTC or over the counter drugs. Normally, these drugs can be bought from pharmacies without a doctors’ prescription. One of these OTC drugs would be anti-inflammatory drugs. They are usually used to treat headaches, body pains, sports injuries and arthritis.

From previous years, there were worries of overindulging with these drugs that might possibly lead to stomach pains or ulcer formation. However, one issue of the British Medical Journal says that these pain relievers may actually lead to an increase in the risk of having stroke or heart attacks.

Bern University researchers with the help of 116,000 patients used 31 different trials of taking several anti-inflammatory drugs. The drugs used in the study were ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celebrex or celecoxib, arcoxia or etoricoxib, vioxx or rofecoxib, and prexige or lumiracoxibe. The various anti-inflammatory drugs had various results as far as the increased risk for heart attack and stroke is concerned. Those who took Vioxx or Prexige had double the chances of having a heart attack compared to the people who took a placebo. Those who were administered with Ibuprofen had thrice the risk while those who took Arcoxia and Diclofenac had four times the risk of getting stroke or heart attack.

Pain Meds for More Pain Coming from this study, both traditional anti-inflammatory drugs and the new generation ones carry this risk for consumers. The American Heart Association has already raised this issue and offers help to consumers in choosing the right pain medicines. One can check the June 2007 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter regarding these guidelines. Apparently, these considerations were looked into when choosing what anti-inflammatory medicines bore risks for heart attack and stroke: first, pain medicines like those mentioned in the study had a side effect of increasing clots in the bloodstream beyond the normal levels; second, COX-2 inhibitors, which is a group of the new generation pain medicines, can actually reduce blood flow through the kidneys which results into high blood pressure.

Another study was published by the journal Circulation last 2010. This study looked into the cardiovascular effects of certain Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS). Coming from Denmark, health care records from the years 1997 until 2005 were compiled. With the numerical data, they found a relationship between the number of strokes and heart attacks of the patients with their use of NSAID medication against those who did not use these drugs.

The results of their study can be summarized as follows:
a.) Those who took Diclofenac had a risk for stroke that was twice higher than the control group.
b.) Those who used Celecoxib had a risk 0.5 times higher for heart attack.
c.) Those who used Ibuprofen had a higher risk for stroke.
d.) Naproxen was one drug that had no clear association with any cardiovascular incident in the study.
e.) The entire study showed dependence between the dosage and intake of the NSAID with stroke and heart attack.

One thing that must be recalled though, according to Peter Juni from Bern University, was that there was little evidence that the said drugs were safe for one’s heart and lungs.
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