Heart attack? Don’t pop that pill
New research has found that if you’ve had a heart attack, using a common painkiller could double your risk of death. Not just right after the heart attack, either.
In fact, there’s not much indication that the risk ever goes away.
According to the study, in the first year after a heart attack 20 percent of people using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)…like ibuprofen and naproxen… died. That’s almost twice the number of non-NSAID users at12 percent.
Over the course of the next four years, the death rates declined in both groups. However, the death rate for NSAID users stayed about double the rate for non-users.
People using NSAIDs were also more likely to have a repeat heart attack.
Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, the chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, wasn’t involved with the study but offered his analysis of the results. He says that people who have had a heart attack should only use NSAIDs with caution and in consultation with their doctors.
If the mainstream was hoping for a window of safety for heart attack sufferers I’ve got bad news for them. The study results show that such a time might never come. The lead researcher says the study suggests there’s “no apparent safe treatment window” for people who’ve had a heart attack.
But as an e-Tips reader this news is probably not all that surprising to you. After all, you’re already “in the know” about NSAIDs.
The truth is these drugs really aren’t that safe for anyone, let alone someone who has had a heart attack. In fact, they could raise your risk of having a first stroke. Slow-release NSAIDs can be particularly dangerous when it comes to GI problems. And then there’s the link between NSAID use and hearing loss.
The head researcher cautioned that people need better education about NSAIDs. She said that since they’re available over the counter people are lulled into thinking they’re safe and we need to work to change that assumption.
That’s an effort I can get behind. But I doubt the drug industry execs will take to the suggestion that they start injecting some truth into their upbeat ads. When it comes to OTC drugs, all we hear is the good stuff–and it turns out THAT could be downright deadly.
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“After heart attacks, pain drugs’ risks seem to last,” Reuters (reuters.com)