(NaturalHealth365) In a stunning revelation, a recent study has shown that the common pain medication class called NSAIDs can raise heart attack risk by as much as 100 percent. All five NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) studied were found to increase heart attack risk significantly within the first week of use, said researchers.
Risk of myocardial infarction from over the counter drugs like ibuprofen was found to be highest within the first month of taking them, especially if dosage was high. The individual drugs assessed also included diclofenac, naproxen, rofecoxib and celecoxib.
Commonly used pain medication increases the risk of a heart attack by over 100 percent
For the study, researchers assessed 446,763 persons from healthcare databases in Canada, the UK and Finland, 61,460 of whom had had a heart attack. It quickly became clear that heart attack risk associated with NSAID usage was highest during the first month in people who took the highest doses of the drugs.
Potential increase in risk for heart attack in those taking rofecoxib was over 100 percent. Both ibuprofen and naproxen were found to bring an increased heart attack risk of about 75 percent.
The overall odds of suffering a heart attack were up to 50 percent higher when using NSAIDs as compared with not using the drugs, with variances among the individual drugs tested. The study results were published in the BMJ.
Higher doses of NSAID pain medication further increase heart attack risk
Because the risk of heart attack seems to come on so quickly after starting NSAIDs, the researchers recommend that healthcare professionals carefully consider both the benefits and risks of these drugs before recommending them.
This is especially relevant when higher doses are prescribed. While those who experienced heart attack related to NSAID use tended to be at higher risk for heart attack in the first place, the study results should give all users of NSAIDs pause.
NSAIDs have been studied for their possible link to myocardial infarction before; however, the current study is the first to measure dose, timing, treatment duration and comparative risks among different NSAID types.
Seek natural alternatives to NSAID pain medication whenever possible
While the effects of longer-term use were not fully assessed, the conclusion of this study is that NSAIDs should only be used in moderation and for as short a term as possible. Ideally, natural pain relief solutions should be sought.
Some holistic alternatives to NSAIDs include capsaicin (the active element in chili peppers), boswellia (Indian frankincense), South African devil’s claw, South American cat’s claw, curcumin (turmeric), and regular use of omega-3 fatty acids (such as a daily fish oil supplement).
You might also try white willow bark (the predecessor of aspirin) or medical marijuana (if legal in your state). As with any natural cure, we suggest you check with your physician before using any of the supplements mentioned here as alternatives to pain medication.