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Researchers call for better information on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Many people in Germany take ibuprofen or other so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for severe pain. Researchers found that taking ibuprofen increased the likelihood of cardiac arrest by 31 percent.
Scientists at Copenhagen University Hosptial Gentofte found in an investigation that ibuprofen greatly increases the risk of cardiac arrest. There was a similar risk with other drugs from the same family of pain relievers. The doctors published the results of their study in the medical journal "Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy".
Strict controls should be put in place
Certain pain relievers increase the risk of cardiac arrest. Many of these drugs can be purchased without a prescription. So there is no advice or restrictions for the buyer when purchasing. It is therefore imperative to introduce stricter controls on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, author Professor Gunnar Gislason from Copenhagen University Hosptial Gentofte demands.
Diclofenac increases the risk of cardiac arrest by 50 percent
Taking ibuprofen can increase your risk of cardiac arrest by 31 percent. Another drug with similar effects is diclofenac, which increased the risk by as much as 50 percent. Until 2015, this drug could still be purchased freely in the UK. Nowadays, it is only available on prescription, the Danish scientists explain.
Diclofenac and ibuprofen are by no means harmless
The results of the study clearly show that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are by no means harmless. Diclofenac and ibuprofen are both quite commonly used pain relievers, which are associated with a significantly increased risk of cardiac arrest, the researchers say. Such drugs should probably not be used in patients with cardiovascular diseases or many cardiovascular risk factors, according to the scientists.
Affected drugs should only be sold in pharmacies
I don't think such drugs should be over the counter unless there is professional advice on how to use them, Professor Gislason explains. This form of pain reliever should only be sold in pharmacies, in limited quantities and in low doses, the expert continues. If such medicines are freely available everywhere, this creates a false impression among the public. Many people think that the use of such pain relievers is safe, the doctor adds. “Our study shows the evidence of the adverse cardiovascular effects of so-called NSAIDs. Such drugs should only be taken after advice from medical professionals, says Prof. Gislason.
What is the main cause of cardiac arrest?
The most common cause of cardiac arrest is a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. Without immediate treatment, death occurs within a few minutes, the Danish experts explain.
Researchers are studying the data from ten years
For their study, the scientists analyzed the data of all patients in Denmark who suffered cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2010. The use of NSAIDs during the month before cardiac arrest was then reviewed in all concerned. In the ten-year period of the study, 28,947 patients had cardiac arrest. Of these, 3,376 had been treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug within one month before cardiac arrest, the researchers say.
No evidence of increased risk from naproxen, celecoxib and rofecoxib
There were three so-called NSAIDs, which did not lead to a statistically significant increase in the risk of cardiac arrest. These included naproxen, celecoxib and rofecoxib. However, the results could also be due to a small sample size, the authors explain.
Effects of pain relievers on the cardiovascular system
The drugs have numerous effects on the cardiovascular system, such as influencing platelet aggregation and the formation of blood clots. These effects could help explain the results, the researchers said. Such drugs can also narrow arteries and raise blood pressure, the scientists add.
People should not take more than 1,200 mg ibuprofen daily
Diclofenac is particularly risky and should therefore be avoided by patients with cardiovascular diseases and the general population. The experts emphasize that there are safe medications that have similar analgesic effects. So there is no reason to use diclofenac. In addition, people should never consume more than 1,200 mg ibuprofen in a day, explains Professor Gislason. (as)