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Painkillers Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Failure

Doctors and hospitals often rely on painkillers - such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen - as the first line of defense in the treatment of various medical conditions. But a new study published in The Lancet shows that high doses of some of the most common painkillers, including ibuprofen and diclofenac, can increase the risk of heart problems by nearly thirty percent.

According to the study's researchers, all NSAIDs double the risk of heart-failure and increase the risk of gastrointestinal complications by two to four times. Every year there were three additional heart attacks, four additional cases of heart failure, and one death for every 1,000 people taking the medications. "Three per thousand per year sounds like it is quite a low risk, but the judgment has to be made by patients," said lead researcher Prof. Colin Baigent.

In the study, the British researchers analyzed results from a total of 639 different clinical trials (which covered 353,000 patients records) in order to assess the risks associated with taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are medications with analgesic (pain reducing) and antipyretic (fever reducing) properties. Accordingly, doctors often prescribe high-dose NSAIDs to treat and manage pain among patients who suffer from inflammatory disorders.

As this article points out, a new type of NSAID painkillers, known as coxibs, carry a lower risk of stomach pains, but they have been widely linked to an increase in heart attacks, which led to widespread public concern and the withdrawal of the popular drug Vioxx from shelves in 2004.

One painkiller - naproxen - did not significantly increase the risk of heart attack and may now be the favored treatment option.

Patients taking painkillers should talk to their doctors about any increased risks of heart attack so that they can make an informed decision about whether to take painkillers as part of a treatment plan. If a doctor fails to adequately inform a patient of the risks associated with painkillers or fails to diagnose an impending heart attack, he or she could be liable for medical malpractice.

The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the public from dangerous medical products, including unsafe pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices. If you have been injured by an unsafe medicine or defective medical device, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible product liability or medical malpractice claim.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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