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Painkillers May Raise Risk of Heart Failure

From the May 22, 2006, Reuters Health comes a report of a study from Spain that suggests that common pain killers in the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), carry an increased risk of a first hospitalization for heart failure. Medications in the category include include over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

In this study Dr. Consuelo Huerta compared a group of individuals ages 60 to 84 who were hospitalized for heart failure to a control group. Of those hospitalized for heart failure, fourteen percent of the heart failure patients were current NSAID users compared with only 10 percent of those not using the drugs. Researchers concluded that after ruling out heart failure risk factors, this represented a 30 percent increased risk of a first hospitalization for heart failure when using these drugs.

Researchers termed this as a "considerable public health impact." Oddly, according to the study, the dose and duration of use of the drugs had no apparent effects on the rate of increased risk. The article notes that a history of heart problems greatly increased the risk factors of a first hospitalization due to these drugs.

Researchers did point out that their findings corroborated others that showed that NSAIDs exacerbate heart failure symptoms. However, they note that this new study adds the finding that NSAIDs increase the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in patients who do not have a history of heart failure.