If you have been taking pain-killers to help you manage chronic pain, this can cause wider risks to your health, including in some cases an increased risk of heart attack. It is vital to explore options that diagnose the underlying cause of the pain, rather than just masking a problem and hoping it will go away. Read more about the risks of pain-killers, even when taking in the short-term, and how to seek effective help to treat chronic orthopaedic-related pain.
Taking painkillers can increase the risk of a heart attack
A team of researchers in the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre in Canada explored in detail the generally accepted medical understanding that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relate to an increases risk of acute myocardial infarction, which is the technical term for a heart attack.
Anti-inflammatory drugs include, what many people would assume to be harmless, over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen.
In most circumstances, medicine like ibuprofen can be taken in moderation, over a day or two and according to the prescription guidelines, or as prescribed by your doctor.
However, when it comes to higher doses the risk of a heart attack increases, according to the Canadian analysts.
Previous studies have failed to identify a clear link between taking medicine like anti-inflammatories and an increased risk of heart failure, but this has been highlighted as partly due to a lack of participants in the studies.
Previous studies “have been of limited use ..as they had small cohorts and poor generalisability.” British Medical Journal (BMJ)
Previous studies also did not include more vulnerable people, who already had an increased cardiovascular risk.
However, this new research, which involved a systematic review and detailed meta-analysis, studied 446,763 patient records, of which 61,460 suffered a heart attack.
Their results demonstrated an increased risk of myocardial infarction was related to taking any dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for a period of one week, one month, or for longer than one month.
Using the drugs for 1-7 days, increased risk by these percentages, compared to not taking the medication:
- Celecoxib – 24%
- Ibuprofen – 48%
- Diclofenac – 50%
- Naproxen – 53%
- Rofecoxib – 58%
They concluded risk was most apparent for the first month of taking the drugs, and with higher doses.
Painkillers should not be used to “treat” pain
If you are living with chronic pain it is important to seek the help you need to diagnose the underlying cause of the pain you are experiencing.
On most occasions there is a solution to ease your symptoms and tackle the route of the problem through proper medical care.
This may be through a combination of physical therapy, treatment or surgery, which can these days be virtually pain-free and with recovery times of just a few days for some conditions.
Carrothers Orthopaedics& Norrish help people of all ages combat chronic pain by first diagnosing the true cause of the problem.
It is only with this knowledge that real solutions can be found that will have long-lasting results and not put other areas of your health at risk in the process.