Beware! Analgesics can kill!

medicine       We never think  twice before popping in an analgesic pill for aches and pain. But now Beware!

There is increasing evidence to show that analgesics can increase cardiac mortality and cardiovascular event rates. A recent journal publication reports that Diclofenac was found to increase cardiac events by 38 to 67%. The increased risk with diclofenac was similar to the COX-2 inhibitor Rofecoxib (Vioxx, Merck), a drug withdrawn from worldwide markets because of cardiovascular toxicity. Diclofenac is the most widely prescribed analgesic in over 15 south asian countries.

In the meta-analysis, Rofecoxib, etoricoxib, and diclofenac were the three agents that were consistently associated with a significantly increased risk when compared with nonuse.  Rofecoxib increased the risk of serious cardiovascular events between 27% and 45%, and Etoricoxib increased the risk more than twofold compared with nonuse. In two observational studies, Diclofenac increased risk of acute heart attacks by approximately 38% and 39%, respectively.

In a paper published earlier in the premier journal Circulation, analgesic use in 43000 patients with heart attack was associated with a 59% increased risk of death after one year and a 63% increased risk of death after 5 years of use.

Currently, Naproxen, is one of the analgesic found to be safe and not increase cardiac event rates in the analysis.

Next time, think twice before you pop in that analgesic pill! More so, if you have suffered a heart attack before! Instead, try some local application like hot fomentation or balms to relieve the pain!

One thought on “Beware! Analgesics can kill!

  1. A Sutton June 1, 2013 / 10:46 am

    I fear that you are unwittingly scaremongering like a lot of journalists. Having read the paper in the Lancet I see that the data is flawed and the conclusion that analgesics cause “cardiovascular events” probably completely wrong. It is because they merged the data from many different studies and some of them had patients as controls who were not in pain. That means they did not have stress factors or mood changes that are the real cause. In other words there was bound to be an excess of heart attacks in the groups who were in pain and had to take analgesics. The reason why diclofenac looks worse than others is because it is a reserve pain killer used by those in whom first choice drugs like ibuprofen did not work, usually because their pain was worse. So patients taking diclofenac had more of the stress factors and a bigger risk of CEs. Some researchers say the proof of a link is that they are dose related ( more CEs on higher doses) but that is simply because higher doses are taken by patients in greater pain so they have greater stress. If anyone wants to check this do a google search on “anger” and “heart attacks” because chronic pain sufferers have more anger than the usual population. They also have more fatigue and depression that are linked to CEs too. I consider this article in the Lancet to be irresponsible, much like the original MMR-Autism canard that they printed.

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