Painkillers Linked To Heart Failure: Anti-Inflammatories Could Put You At Risk For More Than Overdose

Painkiller and opioid addiction is a current health epidemic in America, and these drugs may have more risks that just overdose. A new study has found a link between heart failure and NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, in Europe’s Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

"Even a small increase in cardiovascular risk is a concern for public health," two Danish heart experts, Gunnar Gislason and Christian Torp-Pedersen, wrote in a comment to the British Medical Journal.

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Researchers identified 92,163 hospital admissions for heart failure and then checked to see which drugs were being taken, and in which doses. The use of any NSAID in the preceding two weeks increased the risk of being admitted to a hospital for heart failure by 19 percent. 

The medications studied included diclofenac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, ketorolac, naproxen, nimesulide, piroxicam, etoricoxib, and rofecoxib.

"Use of the most commonly purchased NSAID — ibuprofen — was associated with a lower overall increased risk,” said Helen Williams, a consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Britain.

Fatalities related to opioids are rising drastically — in 2014, about 18,893 overdose deaths in the U.S. were related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 deaths were related to heroin, the American Society of Addiction Medicine reported. Earlier this month, it was revealed that prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence in the U.S. has cost more than lives; it has added up to an estimated total economic burden of $78.5 billion.

"More than 40 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids. Families and communities continue to be devastated by the epidemic of prescription opioid overdoses." said Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. "The rising cost of the epidemic is also a tremendous burden for the health care system."

Back in May, a study found that opioid-related hospitalizations had increased by 72 percent and health care costs associated with opioid addiction grew to $15 billion from 2002 to 2012.

Source: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs And Risk Of Heart Failure In Four European Countries: Nested Case-Control Study. British Medical Journal. 2016.

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