The use of any medications implies that for every therapeutic effect it confers, there is to some degree, a risk for a side effect that must be closely monitored. Although medications today have come a long way in terms of safety, we are still at a point where we continue to discover potential risks associated with medication use. One example of this emerging trend of medication-related risk is the relationship between cardiac arrest and NSAIDS.

NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are common medications that reduce inflammation and relieve fever and pain by blocking enzymes and proteins made by the body. They are usually available over the counter without a prescription. Given its relatively safe profile, NSAIDS have enjoyed widespread availability and consumer use. However, this does not mean NSAIDS are harmless.

In a study conducted by the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, researchers have found a strong link between an increased risk of cardiac arrest and NSAID use. The researchers analyzed over 28,000 patients in Denmark who suffered a cardiac arrest within a 10 year period. The results were shocking. The patients who suffered an episode of a cardiac arrest showed a history of NSAID uses 30 days prior to the episode. Furthermore, the study broke down the kind of NSAID present before the episode and tallied the corresponding risk. In the study, Ibuprofen was linked to a 30 percent increase in cardiac arrest risk, while diclofenac was linked to a whopping 50 percent rise in the risk.

The researcher believe that there is a place for NSAIDS in the treatment of pain and inflammation but given the insidious risk involve in its use, patients should be extra cautious when considering taking it in the long run.

Common painkillers linked to greater risk of cardiac arrest

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