NSAIDs -- Which Ones Hurt the Heart? Which Don't?

Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD


November 24, 2010

This feature requires the newest version of Flash. You can download it here.

No one really thinks much about popping a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for minor complaints, but we should. A 9-year study finds that certain pain relievers can increase cardiovascular risk, even in healthy people.[1]

The study was based on detailed registry data of more than 1 million NSAID users. The average age was 39 years.

Researchers looked at several different types of NSAIDs. Here are the results:

  • Ibuprofen -- 29% greater risk for fatal or nonfatal stroke;

  • Rofecoxib -- 66% increased risk for cardiovascular death. (Remember the high rate of heart attack and stoke is why it was taken off the US market back in 2004.);

  • Diclofenac -- 91% increased risk for cardiovascular death. (Diclofenac has high COX-2 inhibition selectivity.);

  • Celecoxib -- findings inconclusive. The number of events was too small but available data did seem to show a trend for increased cardiovascular risk; and

  • Naproxen -- NOT associated with any increased cardiac risk.

That why these researchers say naproxen is the safest choice for your heart.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: