Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Wisdom Wednesday: Common Painkillers Tied to Slight Rise in Heart Attack Risk
Commonly used painkillers such as Motrin, Advil and Aleve might increase your risk for heart attack, even in the first week of use, a new study suggests.
Overall, these drugs and others known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the risk of a heart attack by 20-50%, compared with not using them, researchers found. For most people, however, this represents only a small increased risk – about 1% a year, the researchers said.
Still, “from the viewpoint of public health, even small increases in risk of heart attack are important because use of NSAIDs is so widespread,” said lead researcher Michele Bally. She’s an epidemiologist at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center.
The increased risk of heart attack associated with NSAIDs was seen at any dose taken for one week, one month or more than one month. And the risk rose with higher doses, the study found.
To lower your odds for heart harm, she suggested considering all available treatment alternatives before deciding to treat occasional pain, fever or inflammation. Read the label of NSAID medications and use the lowest possible effective dose, added Bally, who was a doctoral student at McGill University in Montreal at the time of the study.
The NSAIDs the researchers studied were ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil); naproxen (Aleve); diclofenac (Voltaren); celecoxib (Celebrex); and rofecoxib (Vioxx). Vioxx was pulled from the U.S. market in 2004 because it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The risk of heart attack linked to NSAIDs was greatest with higher doses during the first month of use, Bally said. The researchers found that daily doses of more than 1,200 mg of ibuprofen and over 750 mg of naproxen were particularly harmful within those first 30 days.
“With use of NSAIDs for longer than one month, this heightened risk did not seem to continue to increase even further,” Bally said. However, we did not study repeat heart attacks.” In general, people with heart disease or cardiac risk factors have a greater likelihood of heart attack following NSAID use than patients without these risk factors, she said.
The report was published May 9 in the journal BMJ.
This study just looked at one chronic health issue – heart attacks. There are increased risks for virtually all chronic conditions associated with the use of NSAIDs.
After 72 hours of use, these drugs are impeding the metabolism of prostaglandin 1 (PG1) and prostaglandin 3 (PG3), the body’s primary anti-inflammatory pathways as well as the target, prostaglandin 2 (PG2), which is pro-inflammatory.
Over 8,000 deaths annually in the United States are attributed to the use of NSAIDs.
There are excellent natural and herbal alternatives with well documented chemical pathways proven to reduce PG2 inflammation. The omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil and flax seed oil) produce the PG3 series. Black current seed oil and evening primrose oil produce the PG1 series. Turmeric effectively blocks PG2 inflammation. Sesame seed oil helps block conversion of PG1 to PG2 in people with any aspects of metabolic syndrome.
The Bottom Line:
Avoid the use of NSAIDs, even short term. Add fish oil or flax seed oil to your daily diet and you will very likely avoid experiencing the inflammation that makes you reach for that bottle of pain reliever.
By the way, that 1% increase in yearly risk which is considered so small is the same 1% reduction in risk afforded by the use of statin drugs. It’s all about the spin.
Source: May 9, 2017 National Institutes of Health
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