NSAIDs and Arthritis: Risks Outweigh Benefits

Cardiovascular Risks Involved with Taking NSAIDs

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most commonly prescribed medications for ailments, such as arthritis. Shockingly, however, they have been shown to be related to cardiovascular risks.

In the U.S. alone, more than 100 million prescriptions are written each year by healthcare professionals for NSAIDs and this number does not include over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Studies have shown that NSAIDs and Cox-2 Inhibitors all, to some degree, have an effect on fluid retention and blood pressure. Research shows that the use of these medications can lead to cardiovascular emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes.

In the last couple of years, we have seen certain NSAIDs and Cox-2 Inhibitors pulled off the shelf or off the prescription pad. Rofecoxib, better known as Vioxx, was withdrawn in 2004 after evidence proved its cardiovascular risks.

If you have to take any of these drugs, short-term use is ideal. The longer you are on these medications, the more adverse side effects you may incur. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that pharmacists include a “medication guide” with the prescription for you to read before starting the medicine. This will allow you to be aware of any signs and symptoms that may occur.

The FDA also requires over-the-counter (OTC) medications to have a “black box” (named so because of its heavy black border) warning label on the bottle or package, which states the risks and side effects associated with the drug. You should tell you doctor immediately if you experience any symptom listed on the label or in the pamphlet.

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