Friday, September 26, 2014

Common Painkillers Tied to Blood Clot Risk, Study Suggests

People who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – which include aspirin, naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) – may be at increased risk for potentially deadly blood clots, a new study suggests.

But the study only showed an association between the use of NSAIDs and higher clotting risk, it did not prove cause-and-effect.

The researchers analyzed the results of six studies involving more than 21,000 cases of a type of blood clot called a venous thromboembolism (VTE). These clots include deep vein thrombosis (a clot in the leg) and pulmonary embolism ( a clot in the lungs).

Reporting in Rheumatology, the analysis found that people who used NSAIDs had an 80% higher risk for venous clots.

“Our results show a statistically significant increased VTE risk among NSAID users. Why NSAIDs may increase the risk of VTE is unclear,” said study lead author Palompoog Ungprasert, of the Bassett Medical Center, NY.

“Physicians should be aware of the association and NSAIDs should be prescribed with caution especially in patients already at a higher risk of VTE,”
the researcher added.

Ungprasert stated that all types of NSAIDs were evaluated as a group, but not all NSAIDs may boost the risk of VTE.

Two experts said the findings are in keeping with prior research.

“It is not entirely surprising that NSAIDs are again implicated in causing clot related illness” said Dr. Steven Carsons, chief of the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology at Winthrop University Hospital in New York. He pointed to the case of Vioxx, a powerful NSAID that was withdrawn from the market in 2004, after studies found a higher risk of heart attack and stroke in users.

The new study “makes a compelling case for further study and clinical surveillance for venous clotting events in those patients taking NSAIDs,” Carsons said. However, he stressed that the study could not pinpoint which types of NSAIDs might pose the greatest risk, or which type of patients might be most vulnerable.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She said that “without discerning which NSAIDs are more safe than others, this study shows the potential increase in VTE. It is important that both physicians and patients understand this risk, especially for those people who are already at risk for VTE”

NSAIDs work by blocking inflammatory prostaglandins (PG2). They are very effective during the first 72 hours of use. Unfortunately, after 3 days, they also begin blocking the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins – PG1 and PG3. You know them as the essential fatty acids, omega 6 and omega 3. Not only do these prostaglandins reduce inflammation naturally, they also are precursors for hormones and cell membranes.

Blocking the action of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids accelerates the breakdown of tissue in the body. More than 16,500 people die every year in the US from takings NSAIDs. Most of them bleed to death internally with little or no warning. Liver failure and VTE account for the rest of the fatalities.

Avoid the use of NSAIDs whenever possible. Try Turmeric or just increase your omega 3 fatty acid intake to reduce inflammation. If you must take an NSAID to reduce inflammation, limit its use to 3 days. That will minimize the potential damage.

Source: NIH (National Institutes of Health) -Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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