Monday, 20 March 2017

Painkillers may increase risk of cardiac arrest

Painkillers may increase risk of cardiac arrest Pain is one of the most common presenting complaints of patients. And, painkillers are the most widely used drugs, whether taken OTC or prescribed. But, they have side-effects and their adverse effects on GIT, kidney, heart and liver have been well-documented. Now a new research published in the March 2017 issue of European Heart Journal - Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy has shown an association of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), especialy diclofenac and ibuprofen, to increased risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. All patients who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Denmark between 2001 and 2010 were identified from the nationwide Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry. Data was collected on all redeemed prescriptions for NSAIDs from Danish pharmacies since 1995. These included the non-selective NSAIDs (diclofenac, naproxen, ibuprofen), and COX-2 selective inhibitors (rofecoxib, celecoxib). A total of 28,947 patients had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Denmark during the 10-year period. Of these, 3,376 were treated with an NSAID up to 30 days before the event. Ibuprofen and diclofenac were the most commonly used NSAIDs, making up 51% and 22% of total NSAID use, respectively. Use of any NSAID was associated with a 31% increased risk of cardiac arrest. Diclofenac and ibuprofen were associated with a 50% and 31% increased risk, respectively. Naproxen, celecoxib and rofecoxib were not associated with the occurrence of cardiac arrest, probably due to a low number of events. It is a common perception amongst the public that OTC drugs are safe because they are available over the counter. However, this study further highlights the fact that though available without a doctor’s prescription, OTC drug does not mean that it can be taken without a doctor’s advice. If not taken as directed, painkillers can cause side effects, at times potentially dangerous. (Source: ESC Press release, March 15, 2017)

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