Over the Counter Pain Meds Linked to Heart Disease

Taking readily available pain medications can increase the risk of heart disease in healthy people, according to Danish researchers. Ibuprofen is commonly used for headaches, reducing fever, muscle aches, menstrual cramps and other kinds of pain. The packaging warns against stomach upset for people who take it, but perhaps the manufacturer should be indicating that more serious health problems can result from its use.

These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDS, are also available as prescription-strength drugs used to treat mild to moderate pain, as well as arthritis. The Danish study looked at medical records of more than one million people between 1997 and 2005. The average age of the patients studied was 39 years of age.

People who took high does of ibuprofen (which was defined as more than two or three pills per day) were at increased risk of developing heart disease. One prescription strength NSAID, Diclofenac, was found to increase the risk of cardiovascular issues by over 90 percent.cardiovascular stress photo

Used in moderation, these medications may lower the risk of heart disease. One brand that is commonly available in drug stores, Aleve, seems to do just that.

The American Heart Association linked NSAIDS to cardiac issues in 2007. At that time, doctors were advised to consider other options for pain relief for patients who are at risk for developing heart disease.

If you need to take medications for pain relief regularly, do discuss what you are taking with your doctor. There may be better options that don’t increase your risk of cardiac problems.

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