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NSAIDs Linked to Increased Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

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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

Add a Comment2 Comments


@Anon... Thank you for sharing your insight. I love to hear from people who "listen" to their own bodies and discover naturally what it takes doctors millions in research to discover. Thanks for sharing! May

July 24, 2011 - 6:00pm
EmpowHER Guest

I find it interesting that I discovered this connection on my own---I had developed afib for unknown reasons, as I have none of the major risk factors. I discovered when I took any NSAID for more than a couple of days, the arrhythmia would increase. Even after I had an afib ablation, I noticed that the NSAIDs I took for a repetitive motion injury to my right thumb, caused my heart rhythm to go off track, and I felt like the afib was coming back. It took more than 2 weeks after I stopped taking them for me to feel "normal" again.

July 23, 2011 - 8:11pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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