Pills for Back or Neck Pain Are a Heart Concern.

St George Chiropractor

There is a time and place for pain medication. None is without risk. Sometimes, the risk is small. New research shows that even the simple NSAID medications carry a new risk. NSAIDS are the common over the counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil). These medications are commonly used but new research shows that they are not as safe as we once thought.  Life is about risk management.  If we can get pain relief with as much risk to our body, we should seek those options.

The study, published July 4, 2011 in the British Medical Journal, examined the risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter associated with NSAID use. It included 32 602 patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or flutter in Northern Denmark between 1999–2008 and 325 918 age- and gender-matched controls selected from the source population. Schmidt, a junior research fellow in the department of clinical epidemiology, said that a previous study had suggested that traditional NSAIDs were associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in long-term users, and that one meta-analysis had indicated that COX-2 inhibitors, in particular rofecoxib (Vioxx, Merck & Co), also could be associated with cardiac arrhythmias, but no data specifically on atrial fibrillation were available before now.

Compared with controls who were not treated with the drugs, current use of nonselective NSAIDs was associated with an adjusted 17% increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation or flutter (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.17; 95% CI 1.10–1.24). Current use of COX-2 inhibitors was associated with a slightly higher risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter (IRR 1.27; 95% CI 1.20–1.34).

New use appeared to be associated with the highest risk of developing atrial fibrillation or flutter. For those who filled a first prescription for an NSAID or COX-2 inhibitor in the previous two months, there was a statistically significant 46% and 71% increased risk of atrial fibrillation/flutter, respectively, compared with controls not treated with the drugs.

What does this mean for the average consumer? It means see your chiropractor first when you have pain! This new research points out risk to your heart when you take these pills. A study from 1994 clearly shows risk to the kidneys from the same pills. That’s right, way back in ’94 we knew about the long term risks.

There is a time and place for the pills. But they are not supposed to be the first line treatment, and absolutely, not the only treatment for back or neck pain.

Featured image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and digitalart


Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Comments are closed.