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New hypothesis explains why drugs increase risk of heart attacks and strokes
Date:2/23/2011

CLEVELAND February 21, 2011 New research shows that medications which have raised safety concerns over heart attack and stroke risks may not have gotten approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if the cardiovascular effects of fluid retention had been better understood. Fluid retention may explain the increased risk of heart attacks and strokes of medications such as Vioxx, Bextra, and Avandia.

The research published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation (IOS Press, ISSN 1386-0291), calculates the effects of fluid retention upon the velocity of blood flow and the turbulence of flowing blood. These calculations demonstrate that fluid retention increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Since numerous medications cause fluid retention, the paper's findings have implications to ensure drugs on the market are safe. The pain medications Vioxx and Bextra, and the anti-diabetic medication Avandia, cause fluid retention. Vioxx and Bextra, known as cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, were withdrawn from the market because of safety concerns over heart attacks and strokes, and Avandia has been suspected in some reports of increasing the risk of heart attacks.

The paper's author, Robert P. Blankfield, MD, MS, clinical professor of family medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a member of the Department of Family Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, used several basic cardiovascular and hydraulic equations to demonstrate that fluid retention is detrimental for the cardiovascular system.

Fluid retention increases the likelihood that blood will flow in a turbulent manner. Turbulent blood flow accelerates atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), thereby increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Many medications cause fluid retention, which raises blood pressure in some, but not all, individuals. Physicians worry about fluid retention if it does raise blood pressure
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Contact: Jessica Studeny
Jessica.studeny@case.edu
216-368-4692
IOS Press
Source:Eurekalert

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