Opinion

Thiel: Study reveals cardiovascular risk increases with some drug treatments

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine, it was found that elderly patients with high blood pressure and coronary artery disease who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called NSAIDS, consistently for pain management are at significantly higher risks of dying from cardiovascular events.

Dr. Anthony Bavry, chief investigator of the study at the University of Florida, stated that he found a significant increase in adverse cardiovascular outcomes, primarily driven by an increase in cardiovascular mortality with the use of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib.

He stated that this is not the first or only paper to demonstrate the prospective harm with these medications, but it further solidifies that concern.

The study involved 22,000 patients who were followed for an average of 2.7 years.

Most of the patients in the study were taking such medications to help in pain management secondary to arthritis and low back pain.

In his study, he compared the NSAID users to those who used it consistently, intermittently and those who do not use it at all.

The end result was a doubling of the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in the NSAID compared to the never or infrequent users of NSAIDs.

In addition, a second study was published in the British Medical Journal found that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and some Cox-2 inhibitors are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter—an arrhythmia of the heart.

The study involved over 32,000 patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter between 1999 and 2008.

The lead investigator, Dr. Morten Schmidt, found that there was a 17 per cent increase risk of developing one on these arrhythmias with sustained use of NSAIDs.

What was interesting was that first-time users of these medications had a 46 to 71 per cent increased risk of fibrillation or flutter compared to those who were not previously treated with these drugs.

Commonly used NSAID drugs in Canada include celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, naproxen and ibuprofen.

If you are one who uses one of these classifications of drugs and if you’re concerned about any these findings, discuss with your health practitioner.

It may help you avoid a compounding complication.

 

 

Markus Thiel is a doctor of chiropractic practicing in Kelowna.

 

askdrthiel@shaw.ca.

 

 

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