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“NSAID Drugs: Do They Increase Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes ?”

Some say, “There is no such thing as a safe medication.”  Medications are a risk vs. benefit judgment.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strengthened existing label warnings for non-aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are taken by millions and are used to treat pain or fever.  The over-the-counter forms include Advil, Motrin IB and Aleve.  NSAIDs include naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib, etoricoxib and lumiracoxib.  The prescription forms tend to be stronger and are used to treat arthritis and other painful conditions.  Prescription non-aspirin NSAID labels first included “Boxed Warning” and “Warnings and Precaution” sections in 2005.  Since that time, the FDA reviewed new safety information on prescription and OTC (over the counter) NSAIDs.  The studies estimated that the relative risk increased by 10% to 50%, depending on the drugs and the doses considered.  The updated labels for prescription NSAIDS will include the following information:  1)  Heart attack or stroke risk can increase as early as the first weeks of NSAID use, and the risk may increase with longer NSAID use.

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