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Dangerous pain relievers: Ibuprofen and Diclofenac can increase the risk of cardiac arrest
Many people assume that drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are harmless because they are available over the counter. But some over-the-counter pain relievers can be associated with extremely dangerous side effects and, among other things, increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
Over-the-counter pain relievers with dangerous side effects
Over-the-counter pain relievers can be found in most households today. They are often used relatively carelessly against a wide variety of pain types. However, the intake can be accompanied by considerable side effects - including for the heart. A study by the McGill University Health Center in Montreal (Canada) showed that some of these drugs significantly increase the risk of heart attack. And Italian researchers reported that some pain relievers can cause heart failure. Scientists from Denmark have now found that agents such as ibuprofen and diclofenac significantly increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
Diclofenac increases the risk of cardiac arrest by 50 percent
As the researchers at Copenhagen University Hosptial Gentofte report in the "European Heart Journal", taking ibuprofen can increase the risk of cardiac arrest by 31 percent.
Another drug with similar effects is diclofenac, which increased the risk by as much as 50 percent.
The results of the study clearly show that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are by no means harmless.
Such drugs should 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
Study author Gunnar Gislason, cardiologist at the University Hospital in Gentofte, believes that such drugs should not be available for sale unless there is professional advice on how to use them.
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 provides evidence of the adverse cardiovascular effects of so-called NSAIDs. Such drugs should only be taken after advice from medical professionals, ”says Prof. Gislason.
According to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), such drugs in Germany are in any case prescription-only in higher doses. Patients in this country are adequately protected by the existing regulations.
Researchers looked at 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.
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.
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, ad)