Common NSAIDs include aspirin, Celebrex, Voltaren, Lodine, Motrin or ibuprofen, Indocin, Orudis, Toradol, Relafen, Aleve or Naprosyn, Daypro, Feldene, Clinoril, and Tolectin. With the exception of aspirin, use of NSAIDs has been linked to both heart attack and stroke. Because aspirin prevents blood clots, it’s frequently used by persons at risk for heart attack or stroke as a preventative measure.
Using the Danish National Registry of Patients, Sorensen’s team identified more than 32,600 patients with a first diagnosis of atrial fibrillation over a nine year period from 1999 to 2008. Each identified case of atrial fibrillation was cross-matched and compared with 10 control patients. For purposes of the study, patients were classified into groups of recent NSAID users with the first use being within 60-days of diagnosis, and long-term NSAID users. Researchers found that both NSAID and COX-2 inhibitors increased the risk of atrial fibrillation, 40 and 70 percent, respectively.
While the link between NSAIDs and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke is generally accepted, the link to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation is new information. Researchers recommended that physicians evaluate the impact of taking NSAIDs or COX-2 inhibitors on your total heart health, including risk of atrial fibrillation.
BMJ-British Medical Journal (2011, July 11). Common painkillers linked to irregular heart rhythm. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/07/110705071747.htm
Annette Gbemudu, PharmD, NSAIDS Drugs (Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs), RxList, 04 Dec 2008, http://www.rxlist.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=94691
What is Atrial Fibrillation, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Jul 2011, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/af/af_what.html
Reviewed July 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton