July 4, 2017

What do you do when you have a headache? You take a painkiller. Backache? Painkiller. Almost every other kind of pain ? also painkillers. Millions of painkiller drugs or NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are produced and bought every single day in our current society. And the numbers make sense. These medicines are extremely easy to get and they tend to be effective in reducing our pain. But it is also very important to understand the side effects of every drug we take, especially the easiest ones to get.

Such was the mindset of a Canadian research team that ran a major analysis of all available NSAIDs on the market and their link to heart failure in terms of doses and treatment duration.

  • On the latter aspect, the team emphasized the fact that they focused on realistic use of painkillers, meaning instant ingestion in case of pains as opposed to long-term consumption which has already been thoroughly investigated in previous clinical trials and shown to also affect heart health.
  • The research gathered data from almost half a million people, 446,763 to be exact. The results were surprising to say the least. It was found that no matter the ingested dose of NSAIDs, the consumer exposes themselves to heart problems even within the first week of consumption.
  • People who took painkillers were 20 to 50 percent more exposed to heart attacks than those who didn’t. This results applied to each and everyone of the different brands of popular painkillers that were tested. These included ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, and naproxen which are also known as Motrin, Celebrex, and Aleve.

These news are not necessarily alarming because the risk reported in this study is relative risk rather than absolute risk. This means that the 50 percent figure we mentioned is simply how much more likely you are to have heart problem compared to someone who doesn’t take painkillers. This number is simply not that bad considering that each one of us already has a small chance of having heart issues simply by having a heart.