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Ibuprofen Risky for Heart Patients?

ere prescribed rofecoxib at some time.

On September 30, 2004, Merck voluntarily withdrew rofecoxib from the market because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use. Rofecoxib was one of the most widely used drugs ever to be withdrawn from the market.

The study by Farkouh and colleagues enrolled 18,325 arthritis patients. Nearly 17% of these patients were at high risk of heart attack and stroke.

The trial compared ibuprofen (brand names include Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) to a new pain drug sold as Prexige in the U.K. and Canada.

All of the high-heart-risk patients in the Farkouh study should have been taking low-dose aspirin. Sixty percent of them did. These patients should have had fewer heart attacks, strokes, and heart deaths than those who did not take aspirin.

But if the patients took aspirin and also took high-dose ibuprofen, they were nine times more likely to have a heart attack than were patients who took aspirin and Prexige. Patients who took ibuprofen without taking aspirin were no more likely to have a heart attack than those who took Prexige.

While there is strong evidence that ibuprofen blocks the blood-clot-preventing effects of aspirin, still the drugs do not interact if a person takes aspirin two hours before taking ibuprofen. But whether such a practice will work in real life situations is a different question altogether.

One more trial to finally solve the question of Ibuprofen risk is on, but the study won't start returning results until 2010.
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