Certain pain medications said to increase heart risks

According to a new study use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was associated with an 18 per cent increased risk of atrial fibrillation — an irregular, often rapid heart rate. Findings are published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Atrial fibrillation affects approximately 0.5 per cent of the general population, but more than 6 per cent of the elderly population. The new findings point to the importance of closely monitoring the adverse effects of NSAIDs on heart health, particularly among individuals at high risk.

Based on the findings from this study, benefits and risks of NSAID use should be carefully evaluated when delivered in clinical practice,” said senior author Dr. Hui-Ju Tsai, of the National Health Research Institutes, in Taiwan.

A total of 57,058 participants were included. Participants with NSAID use had an elevated risk of AF compared to non‐users. When further assessing the effects of different classes of NSAIDs on the risk of AF, the results showed that participants who used non‐selective NSAIDs had a significantly elevated risk of AF, as did participants with a combined use of selective and non‐selective NSAIDs.

NSAID use was associated with an increased risk of AF occurrence among the participants included in our study cohort. Closely monitoring the adverse effects of NSAID treatment on the risk of AF will be important, particularly among individuals at high risk, scientists conclude.

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