According to the FDA, use of NSAIDs, (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,) such as Advil (Ibuprofen) and Aleve (Naproxen), increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. As a result, the FDA now requires drug labels for all prescription NSAIDs to warn people of this risk. Over-the-counter non-aspirin NSAIDs also must contain this information.
People have been using NSAIDs since 1999 to treat pain and fever stemming from, among other things, colds, flu, arthritis and headaches. They offer less risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and other problems associated with other pain medications. But, over time, the FDA has seen greater risk from these drugs.
How much Advil and other NSAIDs is too much, you ask? Read the label on the bottle, and talk to your doctor. Here’s more information from MedlinePlus, a resource of the U.S. Information Library of Medicine.
The new FDA warning says:
- The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
- The risk appears greater at higher doses.
- It was previously thought that all NSAIDs may have a similar risk. Newer information makes it less clear that the risk for heart attack or stroke is similar for all NSAIDs; however, this newer information is not sufficient for us to determine that the risk of any particular NSAID is definitely higher or lower than that of any other particular NSAID.
- NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. A large number of studies support this finding, with varying estimates of how much the risk is increased, depending on the drugs and the doses studied.
- In general, patients with heart disease or risk factors for it have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following NSAID use than patients without these risk factors because they have a higher risk at baseline.
- Patients treated with NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to patients who were not treated with NSAIDs after their first heart attack.
- There is an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use.
Here’s more from Just Care:
- Opioid deaths on the rise
- Six things to know about your over-the-counter medications
- How to prepare for your doctor’s visit
- Six tips for lowering your prescription drug costs