Pain Killers

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Associated With Possible Future Stroke

blister pack

In September 2010research revealed that short-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and diclofenac was associated with an increased risk of stroke in a Danish population study including only healthy individuals.

    Head of the research said the results could have "massive public-health implications."

It was found there was an increased risk of Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and stroke with NSAIDs. This is very serious, as these drugs are very widely used, with many available over the counter.  Healthcare Authorities need to get the mesage that these drugs need to be regulated more carefully.

The Danish research team started with the whole population of Denmark aged over 10 years. To select just the healthy individuals, they excluded anyone admitted to the hospital within the past five years or those prescribed chronic medications for more than two years. This left a population of around half a million, who were included in the study. The researchers found that 45% of these healthy individuals had received at least one prescription for an NSAID between 1997 and 2005. They then used stroke data from further hospitalization and death registries and estimated the risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke associated with the use of NSAIDs.

Results showed that NSAID use was associated with an increased risk of stroke. This increased risk ranged from about 30% with ibuprofen and naproxen to 86% with diclofenac.

It was also noted that there was a dose-relationship found, with the increased risk of stroke reaching 90% with doses of ibuprofen over 200 mg and 100%  with diclofenac doses over 100 mg. The results were particularly striking, given that this study was conducted in healthy individuals.

There is reluctance among the medical profession (doctors) to limit the prescribing of these drugs who have been using these drugs for decades without thinking about cardiovascular side effects.

Perhaps the public needs to be protected by not allowing NSAIDs to be bought without a prescription. There has been some success in this regard in Denmark at least, where diclofenac became available over the counter recently, but  it has now become a prescription-only drug again. But many more NSAIDs are available over the counter in the US.

He believes the harmful effects of these agents are relevant to huge numbers of people. "If half the population takes these drugs, even on an occasional basis, then this could be responsible for a 50% to 100% increase in stroke risk. It is an enormous effect."

This research been partly published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes earlier this year.

Targetted nutrition can do a lot to help you deal with either casual or even chronic pain.

Remember that eating foods that don't agree with you can put more strain on your metabolism and other bodily functions sometimes aggravating pain. Furthermore, there are a number of enzymes and nutrients that can help relieve pain and a number of physio's in sports now recommend plant based enzymes to deal with injury pain so  sports people have to rely less on drugs. Even if you suffer occasional or perodical pain using healthier options can at least mean you may only have to resort to mild pain killers to deal with the temporary problem and chronic sufferes may be able to reduce their intake too.

Contact our Nutritional Therapist for details and a consultation.