(NaturalHealth365) The most commonly used non-prescription medications in the world, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – or NSAIDs – are taken by up to 30 million people every day to reduce fever, pain, swelling and inflammation. But a new Danish study showing that the NSAID ibuprofen increases risk of cardiac arrest has researchers calling for sale restrictions on the popular drug.
Please share this special report with anyone suffering with pain and chronic inflammation.
“Over the counter” doesn’t mean “safe”
NSAIDs work by blocking the pro-inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, thereby suppressing the body’s natural inflammatory response. This process can help to relieve uncomfortable symptoms – but does nothing to address their root cause.
Experts are worried that consumers are being lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that NSAIDs can be obtained without a prescription in the United States. But – as recent research shows – this is no guarantee that the drugs are safe.
Research has shown that NSAIDs affect platelet aggregation – thereby raising risk of blood clots. They also constrict arteries, increase the retention of fluid and raise blood pressure – a quartet of distinctly unhealthy effects.
The latest study, published in European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, showed that NSAID use increased the risk of heart attack by a very significant 30 percent.
Ibuprofen warning: What else did the study reveal?
The study, helmed by Dr. Gunnar Gislason, a professor of cardiology at the University of Copenhagen, examined the medical records of 28,947 patients who had experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2010.
Researchers then examined the use of various NSAID pain relievers by a subset of 3,376 patients in the group.
The NSAIDs included ibuprofen – marketed as Advil or Motrin – diclofenac – or Cataflam – and naproxen, or Aleve. Researchers also examined two NSAIDs, rofecoxib and celecoxib, that work by inhibiting COX-2.
Researchers compared the patients’ use of NSAIDS during the 30-day period preceding cardiac arrest to their NSAID use during a preceding 30-day period that did not lead up to a cardiac arrest.
The team concluded that the use of NSAIDs, in general, caused a 31 percent increase in risk of cardiac arrest. Diclofenac, which raised risk by 50 percent, caused the highest increase, while ibuprofen also significantly raised risk by 31 percent.
Study leads to strong warning
Noting that diclofenac and ibuprofen are commonly used medications, lead researcher Dr. Gislason warned that they should be used with caution and for a valid indication – and only after consultation with a doctor.
“NSAIDs are not harmless,” declared Dr. Gislason, who warned against the practice of selling them in supermarkets and gas stations, and said they should only be available in pharmacies, in limited numbers and at low doses. He also warned against taking more than 1200 mgs of ibuprofen a day, and said that diclofenac, the “riskiest” NSAID, should be avoided by the general population.
Your heart health is at risk: Study replicates earlier findings
Earlier studies had shown that NSAIDs are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In May of 2013, the British medical journal Lancet published the results of the landmark Coxib and traditional NSAID Trialists’ Collaboration – a study involving over 350,000 patients. The researchers concluded that heart failure risk was doubled by NSAIDS, and noted that ibuprofen significantly increased major coronary events. In addition, they concluded that all NSAID regimens increased upper gastrointestinal complications.
Another study published in British Medical Journal confirmed that NSAIDs were linked with increased risk of heart failure. Still other studies have linked the drugs with abnormal heart rhythm – as well as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke with regular use.
FDA steps up and actually strengthens label warnings
In response to the deluge of research showing the risks of NSAIDs, the FDA finally took action.
In January of 2016, the FDA approved safety labeling changes in order to strengthen an existing label warning that non-aspirin NSAIDs increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke.
The new warning states that increased risk of heart attack and stroke can occur as early as the first week of use – and increases with longer use. It also points out that NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients without heart disease – or any risk factors for heart disease. The new label also warns of another well-known danger of NSAIDs – an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulceration and perforation.
No surprise: Big pharma denies any harm despite the evidence
Meanwhile, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain – which represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medications – is pushing back against the Danish study, claiming it has “limitations,” and noting that prescription NSAIDs, the bulk of those studied, typically contain higher dosage than NSAIDs obtained over-the-counter. A spokesperson for PAGB called over-the-counter NSAIDs “effective and appropriately safe for pain relief.”
Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Danish study provides even more reason to avoid toxic drugs and seek out natural alternatives for pain relief – which can include turmeric, ginger, capsaicin, valerian root, cat’s claw, white willow bark and boswellia.