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Common Painkillers Might Boost Odds for 2nd Heart Attack
Date:9/11/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- People who've already suffered a heart attack may face higher odds of death or subsequent heart attack if they regularly take a common form of painkiller, Danish researchers report.

The painkillers are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and include over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), as well as prescription drugs such as Celebrex (celecoxib), the researchers noted.

"These results support previous findings that NSAIDs have no apparent safe treatment window among patients with a [prior] heart attack," said lead researcher Dr. Anne-Marie Schjerning Olsen from the department of cardiology at the University of Copenhagen. "Long-term caution with use of NSAIDs is advised in all patients after a heart attack," she said.

Olsen added that "it is important to get the message out to clinicians taking care of patients with cardiovascular disease that NSAIDs are harmful, even several years after a heart attack."

The report was published in the Sept. 10 issue of Circulation.

For the study, researchers collected data on almost 100,000 people who had experienced a heart attack between 1997 and 2009. They found that 44 percent of these patients had filled at least one prescription for an NSAID.

Compared to non-users, people who took the painkillers had a 59 percent higher risk of dying from any cause within a year after their heart attack, and a 63 percent higher risk within five years, the researchers found.

In addition, the risk of having another heart attack or dying from heart disease increased 30 percent within one year, and 41 percent after five years, the Danish team said.

These findings were the same for men and women regardless of age and income, the researchers found, and the study also accounted for factors such as other illnesses or medica
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