Ibuprofen, Naproxen: No Heart Risk
Pain Relievers Don't Increase Risk of Heart Attacks, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
Measuring NSAID Risk continued...
Although the overall longer use (over a year) of all traditional NSAIDs was
associated with a 20% increase in the risk for nonfatal heart attacks, the
longer use of ibuprofen specifically appeared to have no impact on risk.
Use of diclofenac demonstrated a small increased risk for heart attack with
Use of naproxen for longer than a year was associated with a slight decrease
in heart attack risk, but it was not clear if the association was real.
"Our study suggests either no effect or a small reduction of
cardiovascular risk during sustained treatment with naproxen, a small increased
risk with diclofenac, and an undetectable risk with ibuprofen," Garcia
Rodriguez and Gonzalez-Perez wrote.
Ask Your Doctor
The new findings may help to allay the fears of regular ibuprofen or
naproxen users. But American Heart Association (AHA) spokesman David
Herrington, MD, MHS, says patients should still discuss the long-term use of
these drugs with their doctor.
The Wake Forest University cardiology professor co-authored a recent AHA
advisory on the use of pain medications.
"We said that people should try to use the simplest and safest
medications first in the recommended dosages for the shortest possible period
of time," he tells WebMD.
For most people that means aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol), which have
the longest and most well-established safety records, he adds.
Ibuprofen, naproxen, and other NSAIDs should be used for chronic pain under
a doctor's supervision by people who can't take aspirin or acetaminophen or by
those who do not get adequate pain relief with the drugs, the AHA
"Every treatment decision is a balance of safety and efficacy, and this
is certainly no different," Herrington says. "People shouldn't suffer
unnecessarily, but it is important that people who take these drugs long term
get guidance from a physician."