A new study warns that a popular NSAID pain reliever called diclofenac has been associated with an increased risk of serious heart health issues, including heart attacks.
"Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects".
Researchers concluded: "Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs".
"It is time to acknowledge the potential health risk of diclofenac and to reduce its use", the authors wrote.
Are you anxious the medication you take could be impacting your overall health negatively? Scientists came to the conclusion that Diclofenac has a direct impact on the education of cardiovascular diseases, including ischemic stroke, arrhythmia, heart attack and others. Current concerns about the cardiovascular safety of NSAID use mean that such a trial would now be unethical, but regulators including the European Medicines Agency are still calling for the safety of diclofenac to be assessed.
Diclofenac, marketed as Voltarol in the United Kingdom, has been linked with heart failure and irregular heartbeats, and has recently been withdrawn from sales over the counter in the United Kingdom due to concerns about side effects.
Dr Schmidt and colleagues took a different approach by analysing national registry data for more than 6.3 million middle aged adults in Denmark. But even so, researchers say that the risk is not really justified. The researchers looked at records between 1996 and 2006.
Furthermore, a connection between taking diclofenac and the increased rate of upper gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiac death was found.
Use of diclofenac, a commonly used NSAID for treating pain and inflammation, is linked to increased risk for cardiovascular events.
The results also suggested that although the absolute risks associated with diclofenac use were highest in individuals who already demonstrated high baseline cardiovascular risk, the relative risk was actually highest in people with the lowest baseline risk.
More specifically, diclofenac initiators had a 50% increased rate of major cardiovascular events compared with participants who didn't take NSAIDs.
However it is still available over the counter in Australia in low doses.
It is worth noting that compared with other painkillers, Diclofenac proved to be much worse - ibuprofen and naproxen are the strength exactly the same, but have a softer and gentler effect.
Its cardiovascular risks compared with those of other traditional NSAIDs have never been examined in large randomised controlled trials.