Pain medication can increase the risk for a second bout of heart failure

Pain Medication Can Increase the Risk of a Second Bout of Heart Failure

Popular anti-inflammatory, pain-killing drugs (called NSAIDs—or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may increase the risk of relapse in patients with heart failure according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (February 11, 2002;162:265-270). NSAIDs, a group of drugs that includes aspirin and ibuprofen, are often used to treat pain and inflammation.

The drugs will not create congestive heart failure (also called CHF), but there may be an association between the use of the drugs and relapse in patients already diagnosed with CHF. CHF occurs when the heart loses the ability to pump efficiently, creating fluid build-up in the body, including the lungs.

Aspirin is often taken to reduce the risk of heart attack, but some research has suggested that those who take other pain medications may increase their risk of heart failure. Researchers found that patients who had filled at least one NSAID prescription were nearly 10 times more likely than those who didn’t use the drugs to have a relapse of CHF.

For certain patients, NSAIDs may indeed cause fluid retention and high blood pressure. Patients who have had angina, congestive heart failure, bypass surgery, heart attack, or angioplasty with stent placement should seriously consider safer alternatives.

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