A recent study presented at the European Society of Cardiology found Short-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen and Neproxen) was associated with an increased risk of stroke in a Danish population study including only healthy individuals.
“First we found an increased risk of MI with NSAIDs. Now we are finding the same thing for stroke. This is very serious, as these drugs are very widely used, with many available over the counter,” said the studies lead author Dr. Gislason. “We need to get the message out to healthcare authorities that these drugs need to be regulated more carefully.”
Results showed that NSAID use was associated with an increased risk of stroke. This increased risk ranged from about 30% with ibuprofen and naproxen to 86% with diclofenac (Cataflam & Voltaren).
The study also noted that there was also a dose-relationship found, with the increased risk of stroke reaching 90% with doses of ibuprofen over 200 mg and 100% with diclofenac doses over 100 mg.
Dr. Gislason said he did not find the results that surprising in view of the accumulating evidence of increased MI risk with these drugs, adding that the mechanism was probably the same. There have been several hypotheses about the mechanism linking NSAIDs with cardiovascular events, including increased clotting effect on platelets, the lining of blood vessels, and/or atherosclerotic plaques; increasing blood pressure; and effect on the kidneys and salt retention.
The popularity of these drugs and their availability over the counter makes this studies finding worrisome. Some doctors, including Dr. Gislason, believe that NSAID’s should only be available by prescription.
J. Kyle Mathews, MD
Plano OB Gyn Associates
Plano Urogynecology Associates