Are you one of those using NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs? If the answer is yes, you are definitely not the only one.
They are the most common painkillers worldwide. Statistically, in the US there are over 70 million prescriptions of these drugs every year.
Aspirin and ibuprofen, in particular, are sold in over 30 billion doses every year. These painkillers can treat everything from headaches, backaches to rheumatoid arthritis and menstrual pain.
How These NSAIDs Work?
NSAIDs inhibit the body’s ability to synthesize prostaglandins, chemicals similar to hormones which respond to cell injuries. However, people are not aware that these drugs can seriously harm their overall health.
Vomiting, stomach upset and nausea are just some of the effects that these drugs can cause. According to some studies, these drugs can lead to more serious side-effects and even death.
The American Journal of Medicine has published a study in 1998 which stated that every year around 107,000 patients are hospitalized due to NSAID-related gastrointestinal complications. Also, there are around 16,500 deaths among arthritis patients every year.
NSAIDs Lead to Serious Health Risks
Vioxx is one particular deadly NSAIDs which was released in 2000. Prior to his approval, there were some warnings about the cardiovascular risks related to this drug. Before Vioxx was removed from the market, nearly 60,000 deaths took place for a period of four years.
In 2004, the FDA warned that NSAIDs such as COX-2 inhibitors including Bextra, Celebrex, ibuprofen, Aleve, and aspirin can cause serious side-effects such as:
- GI bleeding
- Cardiovascular problems
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
This year in February, the FDA inspected the heart risk linked to different NSAIDs. According to a research, naproxen may be less risky than the NSAIDs. However, there were 16-9 votes against the change of the warning label on naproxen in order to point out that it is safer for the heart than any other drug in this class.
Avoid the Usage of NSAIDs in Pregnancy and Colds
There was a special warning against the use of NSAIDs during pregnancy. One particular study found that over-the-counter and prescription non-aspirin NSAIDs including naproxen, diclofenac, ibuprofen and celecoxib cause an increased risk of miscarriage.
These NSAIDs obstruct the production of prostaglandins, compounds needed for proper implantation of the embryo into the womb. Other side effects of NSAIDs which are linked to pregnancy include low amniotic fluid, heart problems in the offspring and prolonged labor.
Also, if you usually take acetaminophen or aspirin when having a cold, bear in mind that it was discovered that these drugs can obstruct the production of antibodies and even increase the symptoms of cold. Further on, this can lead to longer infectiousness.
In test studies, aspirin reduced the ability of the white blood cells to destroy harmful bacteria. According to some other study, painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin inhibited the white-cell production of antibodies by nearly 50%.
NSAIDs Can Increase Heart Risks
According to a recent Dutch study, published in BMJ Open, NSAIDs can significantly increase the risk of atrial fibrillation. This is a heart condition characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat. So, this condition can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.
The Counsel & Heal reported that the researchers have analyzed a number of NSAIDs including ibuprofen, aspirin, Toradol, naproxen, Celebrex, and Aleve. The study examined nearly 8,423 participants who were nearly 68 years old and did not have atrial fibrillation. They were monitored for a period of 13 years.
The results have shown that those people who used NSAIDs were 1.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation than those who have not used any pain-killers. So, current and chronic users have a 76% increased risk of this condition.
According to a previous research lumiracoxib or Prexige and rofecoxib or Vioxx (both of these NSAIDs were withdrawn from the market) doubled the risk of heart attack while ibuprofen leads to three times higher risk of stroke. Also, diclofenac and etoricoxib or Arcoxia cause an increased risk of cardiovascular death.