Last week, the Food and Drug Administration cautioned that nonaspirin painkillers that contain ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib may boost the risk of stroke and heart attack in high risk groups.
Those drugs, also known as Nsaids, or nonaspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, pose a health risk even if people take them with care and in limited amounts. The agency recommends that they should be used only in case of emergency for short periods of time.
“One of the underlying messages for this warning has to be there are no completely safe pain relievers, period,”
noted Bruce Lambert, a drug safety communication expert.
On the other hand, FDA researchers said that the risk of stroke and heart attack is far more reduced than the same risk smoking, drug abuse, obesity, and high blood pressure involve. But if the patient has one of these habits and take Nsaids, the risk may be even higher.
Researchers believe that taking the drugs in the context of smoking or other bad habits could turn into the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The team noted that they have “extremely solid” evidence to back the link between the said pain killers and stroke and heart failure risk.
Prof Lambert believes that no study can curently prove that Nsaids are completely safe.
The FDA also announced that it would urge drug makers to update labels and tell patients about the newly found risks their products may pose. But while the risk is high in people already at risk of stroke or heart attack, a significant risk was detected in healthy people, too.
The research team found that over-the-counter drugs hiked the risk by 10 percent, while prescription drugs boosted the risk by 20 percent although they were given in low doses. Additionally, high dose drugs prescribed by doctors pushed the risk up 50 percent, study authors found. Nevertheless, the percentage points greatly varied from one product to another. For instance, over-the-counter medications could boost risk up to 20 percent.
Scientists noted that for young people with no cardiovascular history, the drugs may be perfectly safe on short-term.
But seniors aged 65 or more should be extra careful, researchers suggested, especially if they have heart problems. The FDA panel of experts that assessed the risks Nsaids pose to patients’ health reported that there needs to be another study to asses how great the risk was when taking Aleve, Motrin IB or Celebrex pain relivers.
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