Drug painkillers increase death risk and second heart attacks in survivors

Drug painkillers increase death risk and second heart attacks in survivors

For those using common NSAID drugs, their risk of having another heart attack or dying from coronary artery disease was 30% higher 12 months later and 41% higher after five years.  Even worse, their risk of death from any cause was 59% higher 12 months after their heart attack, and 63% higher after five years. 

Dr Schjerning Olsen, and her colleagues, used Danish national records to identify almost 100,000 heart attack victims between 1997 and 2009, and to see if they were prescribed NSAIDs afterwards.  This research factored in other aspects such as illness, other medication, as well as differences in age, sex, income and year of hospitalization. 

Painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen and prescription drugs such as Celebrex are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and can be easily bought over the counter. 

“The results support previous findings suggesting that NSAIDs have no apparent safe treatment window among heart attack patients, and show that coronary risk related to using the drugs remains high, regardless of the time that has passed since the heart attack.  Long-term caution with any use of NSAIDS is advised in all patients after heart attack.  Allowing a drug to be sold without prescription must be perceived by the general public as a strong signal of safety, and may be contrary in this case” Schjerning Olsen said to Bioscience Technology. 

Study by Anne-Marie Schjerning Olsen, M.D., a fellow in the cardiology department at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte in Denmark, and colleagues, as published in Circulation, 2012, an American Heart Association journal.  As reported by Bioscience Technology on Tuesday, September 11, 2012.

Posted: Friday 19 October 2012