A recent report from the New York Times suggests that non-aspirin painkillers could be dangerous to your health. Last week, the FDA released a warning that certain painkillers, including Aleve, Celebrex, and Motrin IB, were associated with an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. With more than 1.5 million people worldwide suffering from chronic pain, this could mean a big risk for a lot of people.
Bruce Lambert, the director of the Center for Communications and Health at Northwestern University, stresses that “one of the underlying messages for this warning has to be there are no completely safe pain relievers, period.”
Even more risky than these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are the additional factors of obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. Patients who fall into these categories are at an especially high risk, according to Lambert.
“The additional risk is relatively small, but it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for someone already at risk,” he stated.
The best way to ensure you don’t put yourself at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke is to limit your use of these medications. The risk-benefit balance can be easily upset by flippant daily use of these painkillers when it isn’t necessary.
“It’s a risk-benefit decision,” says Lambert. “When people get cancer, we give them incredibly toxic drugs, but the extra benefit they get is worth it. For people who are in the habit of taking these drugs for headaches or mild pain, they might want to reconsider.”