Pain Relievers and your Heart
Pain Relievers and your Heart
Drugs that include traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen, as well as new generation anti-inflammatory drugs (COX-2 inhibitors), like Celebrex, have been linked to cardiovascular risks.
Researchers performed a comprehensive analysis of all randomized controlled trials that compared NSAIDs with a placebo. The analysis included more than 30 research trials that examined in total more than 116,000 patients.
Drugs such as rofecoxib (Vioxx) and lumiracoxib were associated with twice the risk of heart attack, while ibuprofen was associated with more than three times the risk of stroke. Etoricoxib (Arcoxia) and diclofenac were associated with the highest risk of cardiovascular death. As a result some of these drugs were quietly pulled from the market.
The researchers report:
"... [T]hese cardiovascular risks are worrying because many patients have both cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disease, and suggests that it is time for an evaluation of a broader range of alternatives."
In other drug news, the U.S. FDA has asked manufacturers of prescription drugs containing acetaminophen (like Tylenol) to limit the dosage of the drug and add a liver toxicity warning to labels. The warning will be a "boxed warning" -- the strongest warning for a prescription drug.
Prescription acetaminophen (a pain and fever reducer better known as Tylenol) must limit the drugs to no more than 325 milligrams per tablet or capsule. Currently, some products contain more than twice that amount.
Dr. Gupta, a public health advocarte reports:
"Overdose from prescription combination products containing acetaminophen account for nearly half of all cases of acetaminophen related liver failure in the United States, many of which result in liver transplant or death."
Millions of Americans depend on anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain from arthritis, headaches, injuries and countless other conditions that cause chronic pain, but the drugs are among the most dangerous on the market.
Beware of Taking These Common Painkillers if You Value Your Heart Health
Vioxx was among this same class of drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, and it was pulled from the market in 2004 after 60,000 people died from its increased heart risks.
Later in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warned that NSAIDS, such as Cox-2 inhibitors Bextra (which was pulled from the market in 2005) and Celebrex, as well as over-the-counter varieties like Aleve, Ibuprofen and aspirin, also lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
Now a newer study by researchers at The University of Bern in Switzerland revealed that NSAIDs lead to a two to fourfold increase in the risk of heart attacks, stroke or cardiovascular death.
Risky Choices for Pain Relief
Aside from significantly increasing your heart risks, NSAIDs are linked to serious gastrointestinal risks, like bleeding of the digestive tract, increased blood pressure and kidney problems. Remember, this applies not only to prescription medications like Celebrex but also over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, Advil, Ibuprofen and Motrin.
In fact, it's very difficult to find a drug-based method of pain relief that does not cause severe side effects. The FDA has even recently limited the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription products and added a boxed warning due to liver toxicity concerns.
Prescription products that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) will now be required to limit the amount of the drug to no more than 325 milligrams per tablet, as taking too much is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
There are over-the-counter Tylenol products that currently contain well over 325 milligrams of acetaminophen however, and they will not be included in this new limit, even though they're easier to obtain, so you will have to watch out for this risk yourself.
But no matter what type of painkiller you choose, the bottom line to remember is that they do not come without risks! Unfortunately, if you visit your conventional physician with chronic pain, a long-term treatment plan will typically include a drug-combination approach, using anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-convulsants, muscle relaxants and possibly other types of pain medication as well.
In other words, the answer for pain relief is drugs, drugs and more drugs -- each one raising your risk of suffering potentially lethal side effects. Is there a better way?
A Safer Approach for Pain Relief
Many people reach for the pill bottle with little or no thought of what it might do to their health in the long run. But tens of thousands of people die prematurely each year as a result...
It's completely understandable to want to get rid of pain. However, please understand that there are many options other than prescription and over-the-counter painkillers that are much safer, even though they may require some patience.
Seems far more rational to stick with natural approaches for inflammation. These approaches not only don't kill you or cause permanent organ damage, they often have other beneficial side effects.
Here are several guidelines that can help reduce, or potentially even eliminate, your pain, depending on its severity:
Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat. Omega-3 fats are powerful blockers of inflammation called prostaglandins.
Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels are one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets and reducing grains is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
Take a Vitamin D supplement. The best way to get enough Vit. D is to get regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain. But often this is not available so taking a supplement is recommended also.
Use safer alternatives for temporary relief, while you are in the process of implementing the above strategies. For several safe and effective suggestions, please see this link for anti-inflammatory alternatives.
As you can see from the list above, there is no "quick fix" to treating pain, but rather it requires a lifestyle change that will be well worth the effort – and far safer than resorting to potentially deadly pain-relieving drugs.
If you are suffering with pain on a regular basis call us, we can help. Tell the person who answers the phone that you want a FREE consultation with the doctor. Call us at 479-443-0800.
Posted In: Heart Health