Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Heart Perils of Pain Relievers

Naproxen, sold as Aleve and other brands, is one of the safest pain relievers, according to a new analysis. 

Naproxen, sold as Aleve and other brands, is one of the safest pain relievers, according to a new analysis.

Common pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen — called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or Nsaids — are the go-to drugs for headaches and pulled muscles, arthritis and menstrual cramps. Their labels have long warned that overuse may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, but we rely on them as we do on few other medications. And for good reason: They work.

Occasional use of Nsaids is not likely to lead to cardiovascular consequences. But an authoritative and ambitious new analysis that included data from over 600 trials, including detailed case histories of more than 350,000 patients, concludes that people who take high doses of Nsaids daily increase their cardiovascular risk by as much as a third, compared with those taking a placebo. The one exception is naproxen, which may actually have a protective effect against heart attacks.

The absolute risk of cardiovascular trouble for those who take high doses of other Nsaids regularly is still quite small. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that people who rely on them may want to explore alternative pain management methods, especially if they have other risks for heart disease, or a family history of it.
 
For the rest of the story: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/the-heart-perils-of-pain-relievers/

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