PROVEN: Taking NSAIDs can dramatically increase your risk of a heart attack

It is not new that pharmaceutical drugs come with harmful side effects, like increasing the risk of various health problems like heart attack. A systematic review published in the BMJ confirmed that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase the risk of a heart attack.

While the link between NSAIDs and heart problems has been well-established, the timing of the risk, the effect of dose, treatment duration, and the comparative risks between NSAIDs have not yet been fully understood. Therefore, a team of researchers from Canada, Finland, and Germany conducted a systematic review to look at these factors. (Related: Anti-inflammatory drugs make your heart beat faster… and it’s not out of love.)

For the review, the research team acquired a cohort of 446,763 individuals, 61,460 of these had a heart attack.

With the data they have gathered, the researchers found that taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of heart attack. Within the first week of using NSAIDs like diclofenac, naproxen, and rofecoxib, the risk of heart attack increased by 99 percent. Taking ibuprofen and celecoxib within a week can increase heart attack risk by 97 percent and 92 percent, respectively.

The probability of increased risk of a heart attack associated with the use of NSAIDs like diclofenac, naproxen, and rofecoxib is 99 percent. Taking ibuprofen and celecoxib for one to seven days has a probability of increased heart attack risk of 97 percent and 92 percent, respectively. In addition, the team observed that a higher dose of any NSAID is associated with a higher risk of heart attack. Moreover, they found that the risk of heart attack was greatest during the first month of NSAID use and with higher doses.

With these findings, the research team concluded that all NSAIDs can indeed increase the risk of a heart attack and that the risk increases with higher doses.

“Prescribers should consider weighing the risks and benefits of NSAIDs before instituting treatment, particularly for higher doses,” wrote the researchers.

Safer alternatives to NSAIDs

NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed drugs for treating arthritis. These are also used to relieve or reduce pain and inflammation. While these are effective, they pose threat to health, causing serious side effects like gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack, and kidney damage. Instead of popping these pills, consider these safer alternatives to NSAIDs:

Ginger: Ginger has long been used as a traditional medicine to treat pain caused by inflammation. This pungent herb contains compounds called gingerols, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Compared to NSAIDs, it is also less likely to cause gastrointestinal irritation. Around two to four grams (g) of ginger is typically used to treat inflammation.

Turmeric: Like ginger, turmeric is used both as a culinary and medicinal herb. It has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda as a remedy for treating inflammatory disorders, such as ulcerative colitis and osteoarthritis. Its anti-inflammatory effect comes from its active compound called curcumin, which also gives its yellow color. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center revealed that curcumin fights inflammation by preventing the production of inflammatory compounds. The typical dose of turmeric is one to three grams daily. However, do not take it with NSAIDs or other blood-thinning drugs as it may increase the risk of bleeding.

Willow bark: Willow bark, derived from the bark of white willow tree, is a potent anti-inflammatory remedy — thanks to its salicin content, which is also the active ingredient in aspirin. This herb is an effective remedy for reducing pain and inflammation brought about by osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions like menstrual cramps, toothache, burns, and minor injuries. The average dose of salicin is 60 milligrams (mg) to 120 mg daily.

Read more news stories and studies on the harmful side effects of pharmaceutical drugs like NSAIDs by going to

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