Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Heart risk warning over painkiller diclofenac

People with heart problems have been advised to stop using one of the most commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs in the UK.

The medicines regulator said painkiller diclofenac could significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke for some patients.

The advice has been updated after a European review of the risks.

Millions of people take diclofenac for a range of conditions including headaches, back pain and arthritis.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the drug should not be used by people with serious underlying heart conditions.

This is a measured response by the MHRA to data that have accumulated over many years.

People who have suffered heart failure, heart disease or a stroke should stop using it completely.

Smokers and people with high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and diabetes have been advised to use the drug only after consulting their GP or pharmacist.

The MHRA said diclofenac would continue to provide safe and effective pain relief, apart from patients in certain "at risk" groups.

Dr Sarah Branch, deputy director of the MHRA's vigilance and risk management of medicines division, said: "Whilst this is a known risk and warnings have been included in patient and healthcare information for some time, this advice is now being updated."

Six million prescriptions were written for diclofenac last year and the drug is also available over the counter.


Dr. WC Douglass' warnings on diclofenac dates back a long way

In February 2007 already, Dr. WC Douglass wrote "The heart travails associated with diclofenac are well known and documented."

Pop a painkiller, drop dead
February 4, 2011

Popular painkiller linked to heart and stroke risk

Feelin’ lucky? Then go ahead — pop that painkiller.

But you’d better hope that today’s not the day your luck finally runs out, because some of the most commonly used pain meds carry a major death risk.

The drugs are those nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories used by millions for everything from arthritis to headaches to back pain. And now, researchers say they can double, triple, and even quadruple your odds of heart attack, stroke, and an early death.

Swiss researchers looked at data from 31 “gold-standard” trials that included 116,429 patients, and found that ibuprofen — a med probably in your own home right now — can triple the risk of stroke.

And diclofenac, a widely used generic prescription NSAID, can quadruple the risk of death from heart attack and stroke.

These problems aren’t rare by any stretch. In fact, the researchers say that for every 25 to 50 patients who take NSAIDs for a year, there will be one extra heart attack or stroke.

That’s overall.

But they also believe that patients who already have heart problems could face a much higher risk when they pop those pills — like the millions of seniors who battle both heart disease and arthritis.

The researchers found naproxen (aka Aleve) to be the “safest” of the NSAIDs, but don’t kid yourself — “safest” doesn’t mean “safe.” All painkillers carry risk — and regular use of any NSAID can lead to bleeding problems, ulcers, and more.

And that means you need to be careful with how — and how often — you use these things, no matter how old you are or what risks you face.

If you need one from time to time, you need one — and I won’t stand in your way.

But if you’re taking one of these things regularly, there’s clearly something else going on — and you and your doc need to get to the bottom of it.

If you go looking for that answer at the bottom of a painkiller jar, you could find yourself at the bottom of a grave.


Common painkillers boost heart attack risk
June 12, 2011

There’s never a great time to take a painkiller — but there’s one time in particular you really want to play “keep away” with these risky meds.

And that’s after a heart attack.

According to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, some of the world’s most commonly used painkillers — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — can dramatically boost the odds of a second heart attack or even death within days of taking them.

Danish researchers looked at data on 83,677 heart attack patients, 42.3 percent of whom had been given NSAIDs. Overall, they found that heart attack survivors given NSAIDs were 45 percent more likely to have a second attack or die inside of a single week.

And within 90 days, the risk increased by 55 percent.

But as deadly as NSAIDs can be, they don’t top the “most dangerous” list. That honor goes to a popular generic arthritis med called diclofenac. Taking this drug after experiencing a heart attack can TRIPLE your odds of death or a second heart attack.

If you want to protect your heart and reduce the inflammation behind everything from pain to disease, stock up on cod liver oil or a quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

And whether you’re recovering from a heart attack or a stubbed toe, save the painkillers for only real, severe pain.


Painkiller drug diclofenac 'overused' despite heart risk
A painkiller that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke may be overprescribed, researchers say.

The dark side of medical marketing
April 22, 2013

If there’s anyone shadier than a used-car salesman, it’s a Big Pharma drug rep.

But at least when a car salesman lies, the worst that could happen is you get stuck with a lemon.

When drug reps lie, people DIE — and yes, this sadly happens all the time.

One new survey of drug promotions in the United States, Canada, and France finds that just six percent of Big Pharma’s minions ever bother to mention side effects or other serious risks.

Six percent!

Now, it would be one thing if the drugs in the survey were all safe (if there was such a thing) or even safe-ish. But a full 57 percent are so dangerous they have government-mandated warning labels such as the FDA’s infamous black box.

This isn’t just unethical and disgraceful. It isn’t even just deceitful and potentially deadly…


All three nations in the survey have laws requiring that drug presentations include information on risks — yet Big Pharma is clearly doing what it always has when confronted with laws they don’t like.

Ignoring them!

Don’t expect your doc to drop a dime and turn them in either. He’s too busy collecting Big Pharma handouts to pay attention. Some docs can be had for the price of lunch. Others collect cold, hard cash — in the form of “consulting fees,” of course.

In return, they do exactly as they’re told — because the survey also finds that docs start prescribing the drugs in question right after those woefully incomplete sales presentations.

And that means the only person you can depend on to look after your interests — besides me, of course — is YOU.

When you get handed a prescription for a drug, do the work your doctor won’t and investigate it. Find out if it’s safe. Find out if it’s effective. Find out if it’s necessary.

More importantly, find out what your other options are. (We can help with that. A quick search of our online archives here can help you find effective natural solutions.)

And if it comes down to it, find a new doctor — one who’s not tucked away in Big Pharma’s back pocket. I recommend one of the experienced members of the American College for Advancement in Medicine.


Read more about diclofenac

"Diclofenac may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or have heart disease. Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG)."

NSAIDs may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may increase with duration of use. Patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be at greater risk. (See WARNINGS.)
Voltaren® (diclofenac sodium enteric-coated tablets) is contraindicated for the treatment of perioperative pain in the setting of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery (see WARNINGS).

"People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (other than aspirin) such as diclofenac may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than people who do not take these medications. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, if you smoke, and if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Get emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part or side of the body, or slurred speech.
If you will be undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG; a type of heart surgery), you should not take diclofenac right before or right after the surgery."

Painkiller drug diclofenac 'overused' despite heart risk
A painkiller that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke may be overprescribed, researchers say.

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