A lack of information, experts say, is the root cause of the lack of concern over the health risks associated with NSAIDs. A report in the January 16, 2005, Science Daily said: "More people die each year from NSAIDs-related complications than from AIDS and cervical cancer in the United States."
Experts say the risk of their many adverse effects increase and vary depending on the patient's age, dosage, and duration of use. NSAIDs include:
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin).
Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).
There are also many OTC products that contain ibuprofen such as: Advil Cold And Sinus, Advil Cold, Advil Allergy Sinus, Children's Advil Allergy Sinus, Ibuprohm Cold and Sinus, Sine-Aid IB, Children's Motrin Cold.
Products that contain naproxen include Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox, Anaprox DS, EC-Naproxyn, Naprelan, and Naprapac (copackaged with lansoprazole)
Dr Gunnar Gislason, from the Gentofte University Hospital in Hellerup Denmark, and colleagues gathered the medical records from the Danish National Patient Registry on 58,432 patients 30 and older who had survived a heart attack between 1994 and 2002.
They then examined the Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics for information regarding prescriptions of NSAIDs, their dosages, and how long they were prescribed.
With high daily doses of NSAIDs, the study found the likelihood of dying was doubled or quadrupled depending on the specific drug, and the risk of another heart attack went up 22% to 89%.
"In addition," Dr Gislason told Heartwire on June 21, 2006, "the average time of treatment in our study was just one month, so it appears that even short courses of these drugs are dangerous in patients with known heart disease."
"This is not just a problem associated with chronic treatment," he said.
Experts advise that these risks are not small for heart attack survivors. They amount to one patient harmed for every 24 patients who took diclofenac, and one in every 45 patients who took ibuprofen.
A year ago in June 2005, a British study of more than 9000 people who had suffered a previous heart attack found NSAIDs increased the risk of another heart attack by between 24% to 55%.