September 24, 2010
Heart attack and heart failure patients have a higher risk of a second heart attack or death if they take painkillers including the generic drug ibuprofen and Pfizer Inc.’s Celebrex, a Danish study found.
The risk doubled within the first 90 days on the painkillers Celebrex or Merck & Co.’s withdrawn Vioxx in those who had survived a heart attack or heart failure, compared with those who didn’t take the medications, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans. Other common painkillers, such as the generics diclofenac and ibuprofen, increased the risk between 2.1 and 1.3 times.
About 8.1 million people in the U.S. have had a heart attack and 5.3 million Americans suffer from heart failure, according to the Heart Association Web site. Based on today’s findings, doctors should avoid prescribing painkillers called NSAIDS, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for these patients, or give them at the lowest dose for the shortest time, researcher Gunnar Gislason said.
“The take-home message is that we need to be careful when using NSAIDs among patients with previous heart attack or heart failure, and we need to carefully consider the balance between risk and benefit when considering starting NSAID treatment in high-risk patients,” said Gislason, a senior resident in cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, in an e-mail. “Even short-time treatment with NSAIDs seems to increase cardiovascular risk among these patients.”
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