Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a common class of medicines that provide pain relief (analgesia), have fever reducing effects (antipyretic), and decrease inflammation. The most common members of this class are sold over the counter and include ibuprofen and naproxen. Other drugs in the class require a prescription including indomethacin, sulindac, etodolac, ketorolac, fenoprofen, ketoprofen, meloxicam, and celecoxib. Recently, researchers in the American Journal of Medicine, published a study detailing a heightened risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure in those known cardiovascular disease taking this medicine.
In this study, over 44,000 adults with prior cardiovascular disease were enrolled in the Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health (REACH) registry, had medicine use collected, and were followed for four years. Individuals who used NSAIDs had a 12 percent higher risk of developing a heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular death, or hospitalization. The risk of heart attack was 37 percent higher in those who used NSAIDs.
Prior experts have noted that NSAIDs increase salt retention, slightly increase blood pressure, adversely affect heart muscle repair, and contribute to formation of clots. Individuals with prior cardiovascular disease or at risk for cardiovascular disease need to discuss limiting use of this class of medicines with their health care provider.