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Diclofenac: Pain Relief or Heart Disease Risk? Part 2

Posted May 31 2013 3:00am
3 months ago, I reviewed a study published in PLOS Medicine in which the authors noted an increase risk of heart disease in those taking diclofenac vs placebo.  Naproxen was thought to have the lowest risk for heart disease compared to other non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain relievers.  Well, the evidence is beginning to stack against some NSAIDs more than others.

In a meta-analysis of 280 trials of NSAIDs vs placebo involving 124,513 participants and another 474 trials of NSAIDs vs NSAIDs involving 124,513 participants published early online in Lancet , the authors noted that high dose diclofenac & ibuprofen had comparable heart disease risk compared to the coxibs (which was greater than placebo) while high dose naproxen was linked to lower cardiovascular risk compared to other NSAIDs.  Bottom line: think twice before you reach for that NSAID as it just might increase your risk for heart disease.

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