Studies have shown that people who take anti-inflammatory painkillers have a small but significant increase in the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke . Although it can occur in anybody, the risk is mainly in people already known to have cardiovascular problems such as angina or peripheral arterial disease , and in the elderly. Perhaps the highest risk is in people who have previously had a heart attack. For example, one research study looked at people who had previously had a heart attack. The results showed a marked increase in the rate of a second heart attack in people who were taking an anti-inflammatory compared to those who were not.
When and how much to take
NSAIDs should ideally be taken with some food, or at least with milk or yoghurt to avoid irritation of the gastric mucosa (. the inner lining of the stomach). It is important not to exceed the recommended dose to avoid possible serious side-effects. There is also no benefit in taking more than a certain dose, since these drugs have a ceiling effect. This means that above a certain dose, taking even more of this medication will not yield any extra beneficial effects, but will considerably increase the risk for side-effects.
NSAIDs increase the risk of potentially fatal, stomach and intestinal adverse reactions (for example, bleeding, ulcers, and perforation of the stomach or intestines ). These events can occur at any time during treatment and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients are at greater risk for these adverse events. NSAIDs (except low dose aspirin) may increase the risk of potentially fatal heart attacks , stroke , and related conditions. This risk may increase with duration of use and in patients who have underlying risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease. Therefore, NSAIDs should not be used for the treatment of pain resulting from coronary artery bypass graft ( CABG ) surgery.