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Certain Painkillers May Raise Odds of Stroke, Heart Attack: Study
Date:7/14/2011

THURSDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Heart disease patients with high blood pressure who take a class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are at greater risk for heart attack, stroke or even death, new research shows.

NSAIDS include popular medications such as such as aspirin, Celebrex, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). The results are published in the July issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

"Among coronary artery disease patients with hypertension, chronic self-reported use of NSAIDs was associated with harmful outcomes, and this practice should be avoided where possible," Dr. Anthony A. Bavry, assistant professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Florida, Gainesville, said in a journal news release.

In conducting the study, Bavry and colleagues followed 882 long-term NSAID users and almost 22,000 people who used NSAIDs intermittently over an average of about three years.

Patients with high blood pressure and coronary artery disease who took NSAIDs regularly had a 47 percent increase in the rate of death as well as nonfatal heart attack and stroke. After a period of five years, those rates jumped to 126 percent for death and 66 percent for heart attack, the investigators found.

Because there's a lack of data to help researchers understand why people with heart disease and high blood pressure who take NSAIDs are at greater risk for adverse events, the study authors suggested that these patients should consider alternative methods of pain relief until more research is done.

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Howard S. Weintraub, clinical director of the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, noted that the new study had several strengths.

"It is taken from a large group of patients with coronary artery
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