Thursday, 23 March 2017

Is Ibuprofen Dangerous?

Most people think that because something is legal and easily accessible, it is safe to use in "recommended" amounts and methods. However, new research shows that one of the most accessible pharmaceutical drugs, ibuprofen, may in fact be killing thousands of people every year.

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, sudden cardiac arrest - literally, your heart stopping - is a leading cause of death in adults over 40 around the world. In the USA alone, 326,000 people suffer from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year, and around 90% of them do not survive. Last year, this included the actress Carrie Fisher, but sadly nothing seems to have changed in the average person's consciousness in regards to cardiac event prevention. The conventional medical world still points the finger at vague, often uncontrollable risk factors like family history, previous heart problems or high LDL cholesterol.

Studying how to treat cardiac arrest, although prevention
is vastly superior.
Finally, a recent press release issued by the European Society of Cardiology titled "Harmless" Painkillers Associated with Increased Risk of Cardiac Arrest attempted to alert the health industry of a not-so-obvious but easily preventable cause of death. This was based on a study published on the Christmas Eve of 2016, a few days before Carrie Fisher died. The study is no joke: the cases of 28,947 people on the Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry were analysed, which was everyone who had suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest from the years 2001-2010. Of these, 3,376 had used NSAIDs up to 30 days before cardiac arrest. Their cases were compared to 115,788 people, matched for age and sex, who did not have a cardiac arrest. Ibuprofen and diclofenac were the most common NSAIDs, representing 51% and 21.8% respectively of total NSAID use. Ibuprofen was linked with a 31% increased risk of cardiac arrest, and diclofenac was linked with a higher risk. Naproxen, celecoxib and rofecoxib were also linked with higher risk of cardiac arrest, but these were not seen as significant (caused by use of the drugs). However, these groups only had a few cardiac events.

The authors wrote that this was not the first time that NSAID use, especially the selective COX-2 inhibitors, have been linked to adverse cardiac events (there are two versions of the inflammatory cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2). One meta-analysis they described, by Bhala et al., reported double the risk of major coronary events with the use of ibuprofen, a 70% higher risk of major coronary events with diclofenac and a 65% higher risk of vascular deaths with diclofenac use. When Trelle et al. compared ibuprofen use with placebo, they found a 30% higher risk of heart attack, cardiovascular death and death from any cause. With diclofenac, they found a higher risk of cardiovascular death with a rate ratio of four. However, these analysed high-dose use of ibuprofen, at 2,400mg a day, but this may be more common than we think. Other research had found harmful effects of rofecoxib, which was withdrawn from the market in Denmark in 2006.

All of this means that it's now time to look at more natural ways of controlling pain. Depending on the cause of pain, a qualified naturopath, acupuncturist, chiropractor or osteopath can help to uncover the root causes of pain and put together a treatment plan so you can truly heal, not just mask the symptoms.

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