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- The use of prescription and over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxone is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
- The FDA updated its warnings for the category of drugs, NSAIDs, based on more evidence of the increased risk.
Some of the most common painkillers available carry a warning: their use can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
That warning was strengthened by the FDA on Thursday, after more evidence connected those risks to a category of medication known as non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs.
The over-the-counter and prescription versions of the medications relieves the symptoms of fever, headaches, colds and cramping. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) are the most common forms of NSAIDs.
“Based on our comprehensive review of new safety information, we are requiring updates to the drug labels of all prescription NSAIDs,” the FDA said on its website.
Here’s what to know:
- People with heart disease have a greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke after using NSAIDs.
- There’s also an increased risk of heart failure associated with NSAID use.
- The risk of heart attack and stroke associated with NSAID medications has been known since 2005, so this is an update to those warnings.
- This change is specific to prescription NSAIDs, though the FDA did say it plans to request changes to the over-the-counter labels as well.
- The risk of heart attack and stroke is greater when people use higher doses, and can increase the longer the drugs are used.
- Some NSAIDs likely increase the risk of heart attack and stroke more than others, though the FDA couldn’t definitively say which ones are higher-risk.
- The warning does not apply to aspirin, which is actually often recommended for people with a high risk of heart attack.