Study finds increased risk of heart attacks and strokes when using painkiller

29 Sep 2011
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Following a study of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) undertaken by a team from the Hull York Medical School, it was found that those using diclofenac have 40 per cent more risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.


Diclofenac is a common painkiller used by many to control inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, gout, headaches, and general aches and fever that come with the flu.


Dr Patricia McGettigan, a researcher, from the Hull York Medical School, commented that 'a patient with previous heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes has an annual background risk of heart attack over 5%, use of diclofenac will increase that by 40%, giving an annual risk of over 7%. In other words, one in 50 such patients might suffer an avoidable heart attack. This is important information in making choices, particularly if there is a safer alternative.'


In a statement from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), a spokesman said 'All medicines have side effects – no effective medicine is without risk.


'The safety of all NSAIDs have been carefully evaluated by MHRA specifically looking at the risk of gastrointestinal and heart problems.


'To minimise the risk of side effects all NSAIDs should be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period necessary to control symptoms.'



Are you a regular user of NSAIDs? Have you ever suffered from side effects relating to use of diclofenac? Share your thoughts with us below.