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Painkillers can increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes and death

Research has also found that the size of these risks can be predicted.

Image: Painkillers via Shutterstock

HIGHER DOSES OF pain killers can increase the risk of non-fatal heart attacks, strokes, and death by about a third.

That’s according to new research published in Online First in The Lancet.

For decades, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been the cornerstone in managing pain for people with inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, and are some of the most commonly used drugs in the world. However, earlier research linked the drugs with gastrointestinal complications. A new generation of pain killers were developed to reduce the side-effects of stomach issues but they were found to have increased the risk of heart attacks and death.

This new study now shows that older types of NSAIDs, such as diclofenac and ibuprofen, are associated with similar risks of heart disease.

Hearth disease

Research found that for every 1,000 people – with a moderate risk of heart disease – given a high-dose pain killer for a year, about three would experience heart attack, of which one would be fatal.

Also, all NSAIDs double the risk of heart failure and produce a two to four times increased risk of serious upper gastrointestinal complications such as bleeding ulcers.

The research combined data on outcomes of over 353,000 patients comparing one NSAID with another NSAID or placebo.

The analysis of patient data also shows that the size of these risks can be predicted, which may help physicians decide which types of patient are best suited to which NSAID regimen.

Read: Rise in ‘designer drugs’ poses serious health risk: UN report>
More: NCA survey finds wide variations in drug pricing in pharmacies nationwide>

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