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How Do Painkillers Affect the Heart Health?
30 Jul. 2015

taking painkillersThe use of popular painkillers belonging to the group of preparations known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen, celecoxib (Celebrex) and diclofenac) can increase the risk of development of cardiovascular diseases. It is especially true for the patients who take these pain relief medications at high doses and for a long period of time as well as for smokers and people who are overweight.

Researchers analyzed medical records of over 350,000 patients that took part in 639 clinical trials in order to evaluate the effects of NSAIDs. The participants received high doses of NSAIDs on a daily basis to reduce pain. It has been discovered that these medications raise the risk of myocardial infarction. Moreover, NSAIDs are connected with increased risk of heart failure and stomach bleeding. Although the risk is not that high, the decision should be made by the patient after thorough discussion with the doctor. Scientists claim that those who take NSAIDs rarely (to relieve headache, for example) should not worry about the consequences. Whereas, patients who are already in the high-risk group due to the problems with the heart can further increase the risk of infarction by taking large doses of painkillers. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are also among the main factors provoking cardiovascular problems.

Usually, people suffering from severe arthritis resort to the help of NSAIDs to relieve arthritis-associated pain and reduce inflammation. According to scientists, for some patients the risk is acceptable but still they should be offered an alternative treatment. Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillerspreparations can make the body retain fluid and lead to the aggravation of the symptoms of heart failure such as swollen ankles, breathlessness and irregular or rapid heartbeat.

NSAIDs are a sort of a lifesaver for millions of people fighting with arthritis. However, the possible risks referred to in the study raise the question of the need to find equally effective but safer alternative means to cope with pain. The best pain relief medication to use depends on the health problems in every particular case as well as on any other drugs the patient takes. Therefore, it’s important to tell the doctor about any over-the-counter preparations, prescription drugs and even herbal medications you take.


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