The study is published online in the July 4 issue of the BMJ.
The drugs do, indeed, have a checkered history.
In 2004, the blockbuster cox-2 inhibitor called Vioxx was pulled from the market because of its link to an increased risk of heart attack. In 2007, the American Heart Association warned doctors about the risk of giving NSAIDs to heart patients and recommended that these patients receive only the lowest dose and take the drugs for the shortest possible time.
In addition, a study published in the July 2010 issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that healthy people who take NSAIDs to relieve minor aches and pains may be at increased risk of death from heart problems.
And a review of existing research this year found that NSAIDs taken to treat inflammation can boost the risk of heart attack, stroke or death. The researchers said their finding from the analysis of 31 clinical trials of NSAIDs suggest that a patient's cardiovascular risk needs to be assessed before being prescribed NSAIDs. That study appeared in the January issue of the BMJ.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about atrial fibrillation.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCES: BMJ, news release, July 4, 2011; Furqan Tejani, M.D., director, advanced cardiovascular imaging, and associate professor, medicine, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, New York City
All rights reserved