nsaidsThe American Heart Association and the FDA already warn people with heart disease to be careful with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) painkillers, but a recent Danish study has found that cardiovascular risk may increase even in healthy people without heart disease.

NSAIDs include but are not limited to: ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib and rofecoxib more commonly known by brand names Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Voltaren, Cataflam, Celebrex and Vioxx (taken off the market in 2004). The risks for the different types of NSAIDs varied in the Danish study. Here are the highlights:

  • Participants in the study (average age of 39) who used ibuprofen had a 29% greater risk of stroke than those who didn’t use ibuprofen
  • Diclofenac was found to increase risk of death from all types of cardiovascular disease by 91%
  • Rofecoxib was found to increase risk of death from all types of cardiovascular disease by 66%
  • In highest doses, diclofenac doubled the risk of a heart attack
  • In highest does, rofecoxib tripled the risk of a heart attack
  • Almost all NSAIDs increased the incidence of major bleeding events (except with celecoxib)

Why do these drugs cause such serious cardiovascular problems, even in healthy people? One reason is  because they elevate blood pressure; another is that they have an artery-blocking effect. Athletes and people who exercise on a regular basis should be extra careful about their NSAID use as they are one of the highest using groups.

Less Pain, More Gain

If you do take NSAIDs regularly, you should talk with your doctor about why the medication was recommended or prescribed, if you need to continue taking it and what dose is safe. Find out if there are any alternatives to the NSAID. If you take NSAIDs for minor aches and pains, switching to a natural alternative like Kaprex seems to be a wise move.

In addition, there are many dietary and supplement changes that can help reduce inflammation in the body, such as adding fish and fish oils daily (like Orthomega), increasing whole, fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and reducing/eliminating soda, coffee, alcohol, sugar, peanuts and red meat from the diet. These little changes can add up to a whole lot less pain while reducing the need for pills of any time – natural or otherwise.

Source: Associated Press “Common Pain Relievers Raise Heart Risk for Healthy People” Ed Edelson 2010