Non-steroidal painkillers may harm your heart

Taipei: Beware of the painkiller you are taking as researchers have found that consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the chances of heart-related complications.

According to the researchers, use of NSAIDs was associated with a 18 per cent increased risk of atrial fibrillation in a study of middle-aged adults.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.

It affects approximately 0.5 per cent of the general population, but more than 6 per cent of the elderly population.

The new findings point to the importance of closely monitoring the adverse effects of NSAIDs on heart health, particularly among individuals at high risk, said the researchers.

“Based on the findings from this study, benefits, and risks of NSAIDs use should be carefully evaluated when delivered in clinical practice,” said co-author of the study, Hui-Ju Tsai from the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan.

For the study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers included 57,058 participants — 28,529 atrial fibrillation cases and 28,529 matched controls.

Participants with NSAIDs use had an elevated risk of atrial fibrillation compared to non-users.

When further assessing the effects of different classes of NSAIDs on the risk of atrial fibrillation, the results showed that participants who used non-selective NSAIDs had a significantly elevated risk of atrial fibrillation, as did participants with a combined use of selective and non-selective NSAIDs.

NSAIDs use was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation occurrence among the participants included in the study cohort, said the researchers.

Closely monitoring the adverse effects of NSAIDs treatment on the risk of atrial fibrillation will be important, particularly among individuals at high risk, they noted.