Diclofenac increases the risk of heart strokes

The research claims that a common ingredient in Voltaren can increase your chances of having a heart attack by 50 per cent

The results are based on national registry data for more than 6.3 million adults in Denmark taken from 1996 to 2016. The average age of participants was 46-49 years among those beginning NSAIDs and 56 years among those starting paracetamol.

Use of diclofenac, a commonly used NSAID for treating pain and inflammation, is linked to increased risk for cardiovascular events.

The research team, led by Dr Morten Schmidt from the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark examined starting the use of the drug compared with no NSAIDS, beginning the use paracetamol and starting other traditional NSAID drugs. "Considering its cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks, however, there is little justification to initiate diclofenac treatment before other traditional NSAIDs", the researchers concluded.

"Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs", explain the authors.

According to a recent study, the painkiller diclofenac could be associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. Do you use Diclofenac? Risks that were overlooked or unapparent during safety studies that occurred years to decades ago. The risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding at 30 days of diclofenac use was similar to that associated with naproxen, but was 4.5-fold higher than it was among patients who didn't take NSAIDs and 2.5-fold higher than for paracetamol, or ibuprofen initiators. For people at high risk of cardiovascular disease, that number would shoot up to 40, with half dying.

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After analyzing the data, the scientists found out that diclofenac increases risks of cardiovascular conditions, such as irregular heartbeat, ischaemic stroke, heart failure, and heart attack. The relatively increased risk was seen across the board, including in people who took a lower dose as well as those with no existing history of cardiovascular disease.

The authors mention that although the relative risk was increased, the absolute risk remained low for each individual patient. Among patients at moderate baseline risk, corresponding figures were seven, seven, eight and 14 additional events, respectively, and for those at high baseline risk, corresponding numbers were 16, 10, one and 39 additional events, respectively.

While the researchers did acknowledge this was an observational study, they also noted the sample sizes they used were larger than what has been used with previous research on the same subject.

The researchers said that despite the potential side effects, treatment with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for improving the quality of life of patients suffering from pain and inflammation.

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