Back in 2011, we told you how widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen and fenoprofen can increase your risk of a second heart attack by as much as 45 per cent.
These popular painkillers have also been associated with a 66 per cent chance of developing dementia, and a 57 per cent chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Last year another study found using NSAID pain relievers increase your risk of atrial fibrillation (A-fib), a potentially deadly heart rhythm, by a whopping 84 per cent.
Slowly catch the monkey
It may have taken years but the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally admitted that the evidence against NSAIDs is too overwhelming to ignore. The agency is now demanding that these painkillers start carrying a label warning about their heart attack and stroke risks.
In fact, according to deputy director of the FDA division that oversees NSAIDs, Dr. Judy Racoosin, with NSAIDs “there is no period of use shown to be without risk.” NSAIDs increase your heart disease and stroke risk from the moment you take your first dose. And that includes cheap ibuprofen drugs that you can buy over-the-counter at any pharmacy.
So, why this sudden turn around?
After years of ignoring adverse reports from NSAID victims and their families the FDA finally agreed to take a new look at the science behind these drugs.
Here’s a short summary of what the agency found in its review:
- These drugs can increase your risk of heart failure;
- Your chance of having a heart attack or stroke jumps quickly in the first week of taking an NSAID. The longer you take them and the higher the dose, the greater the danger;
- Even occasional users of NSAIDs have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke;
- Patients who were given NSAID drugs after a first heart attack were more likely to die within a year compared to those who didn’t take such medications.
Wow! And these drugs are available over the counter?!
NSAIDs pose the greatest risk to people who recently had a heart attack or bypass – which is especially alarming because many people pop pain relievers like sweets after surgery.
But the most alarming fact is that even people with healthy hearts can be killed by the drugs.
Along with the over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen, many prescription drugs fall under the same class… so it’s easy be take a massive dose without even realizing it.
If you ask me, slapping severe risk warnings on these painkillers is long overdue.
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“FDA strengthens heart attack, stroke warning for popular painkillers” Dennis Thompson, July 9, 2015, HealthDay, consumer.healthday.com
“FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA strengthens warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause heart attacks or strokes” FDA Safety Announcement, July 9, 2015, fda.gov
‘Types of NSAIDs’ published online, spine-health.com
‘Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)’ published online, medicinenet.com
‘Common pain relievers raise heart risk for healthy people’ published online 11.06.2010, usatoday.com
‘High doses of ibuprofen raise heart attack risk’ published online 05.04.2007
‘Taking painkillers increases risk of death to heart attack victims by ’55 per cent’, published online 10.05.11, dailymail.co.uk
“Is Alzheimer’s Disease Caused by Paracetamol?” Walter Last, Nexus, February-March 2011, nexusmagazine.com
“Alzheimer’s Disease – A Functional Approach” David Perlmutter, M.D., Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, July 2002, townsendletter.com