Common Painkillers May Increase Risk of Cardiac Arrest

Some of the commonly used painkillers can increase the chance of having cardiac arrest, as per a new study conducted in Denmark.


The researchers of the study were able to derive a link between NSAIDs or nonstreoidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and cardiac arrest, a condition when the heart stops beating all of a sudden.

The findings are in line with the previous research, which were also able to establish a link between the use of NSAIDs and higher chances of having heart problems, like heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. The new study focused mainly on the effect of NSAIDs in causing cardiac arrest.

The findings show that NSAIDs are not completely harmless, according to Dr. Gunnar Gislason, author of the study and a professor in Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte. People need to be aware of this connection in order to help them balance risks and benefits all together. Gislason mentioned that the use of NSAIDs should be under caution and only for a reasonable indication.

The researchers suggested that people should not be taking a dose of ibuprofen higher than 1,200 milligrams in a single day.

The Food and Drug Administration of the United States had warned previously regarding NSAIDs and the potential of their higher doses in causing stroke and heart attack. People who use this medication must use it in low quantities. People who have high blood pressure should also consume this medication after consulting with the doctor beforehand, according to the FDA.

In the recent study, the researchers had to analyse information that was taken from about 28,000 participants in Denmark who have had a previous episode of cardiac arrest in any place other than a hospital in a 10-year timeline.

The use of NSAIDs was also looked upon by the researchers in a 30-day period before the occurrence of the cardiac arrest, also referred as the case period. The researchers gathered as much information regarding the daily dosage and the medications specifically used during the case period.

The results were able to show that out of all the participants, 3,376 of them were treated using NSAIDs during the case period before experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Ibuprofen usage was found to cause 31 percent increase in the risk of having cardiac arrest. Participants who used diclofenac indicated that it could result in a 50 percent increase in the chance of having a cardiac arrest. The researchers were not able to find any link between the use of refocoxib, celecoxib, and naproxen and cardiac arrest risk. But, this could also result from the fact that people do not use these medications often, according to the researchers.

The study could only find an association between the two variables, but couldn’t show that NSAIDs could result in a cardiac arrest.

The study did not take temporary changes like acute diseases into account while analysing the participants’ information. Along with that, the researchers only took an account of the use of NSAIDs as prescription drugs. Therefore, it is unknown if the numbers could be a result of consuming other over-the-counter NSAIDs as well.

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