Diclofenac increases the risk of heart strokes


Researchers concluded: "Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs".

The researchers believe that people should finally recognize the potential health risks of the drug and reduce its usage.

Ever since then, medical researchers have remained on high alert; wondering if any other drugs in this class - which includes aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve) - should be abandoned due to their cardiovascular risks.

Both men and women were at higher risk for heart problems, as were those taking low doses of the drug. According to Daily Mail, many parts of the world - including the United Kingdom - have banned diclofenac as an over-the-counter medication because of its adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Diclofenac is categorised as an essential medicine in more than 70 countries, according to a 2013 study.

The research team, led by Dr Morten Schmidt from the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark examined starting the use of the drug compared with no NSAIDS, beginning the use paracetamol and starting other traditional NSAID drugs.

The study included more than 6.3 million adults with an average age of 46-49 in Denmark with at least one year of continuous prescription records from 1996 to 2016. Diclofenac should not be available over the counter, and when prescribed, should be accompanied by an appropriate front package warning about its potential risks'.

One of the world's most-used painkillers, diclofenac, the active component in Difene, has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in a major study published on Wednesday morning.

"Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects", the study authors said in a statement.

Furthermore, a connection between taking diclofenac and the increased rate of upper gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiac death was found.

For years, however, doctors have been anxious about diclofenac's potential heart risks.

Diclofenac is the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in low, middle, and high income countries, and it is prescribed to millions of people in the United Kingdom every year. They also think that it should not be made available over the counter anymore.

However, although the relative risk - relative to other drugs - is increased, they have indicated that the absolute risk of diclofenac remains low for patients. Considering its cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks, however, there is little justification to initiate diclofenac treatment before other traditional NSAIDs.