Researchers have found that the pain medication Diclofenac may cause significant heart problems. New data indicates that people who suffer from heart problems associated with high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid the drug.
Diclofenac Heart Problem Examined
Scientists found that using Diclofenac increases one's chance of heart attack by 40 percent. The study analysis included 1.2 million people in 23 clinical studies and looked at the effects of 7 other pain drugs. The study findings were released by the Journal of the American Medical Association because the Diclofenac heart problem risk was too great to go unannounced. Researchers want to urge companies to get Diclofenac off the market because they fear future reports of heart problems. If there is a chance that Diclofenac causes heart problems, then further use should be discussed with your physician, as Diclofenac's benefits are few when compared to other similar drugs. The FDA is concerned with the Diclofenac heart problem findings, although the organization does not recognize the new data about Diclofenac heart problems as conclusive.
Diclofenac Heart Problems: What is Diclofenac?
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, also known as an NSAID. It has been an effective pain medication sold under the names Cataflam, Voltaren, Voltarol, Diclon, Diclofle and Difen. It is a minor prescription drug in the United States but popular and easily obtained in other countries. Diclofenac lowers the amount of certain types of hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Scientists do not know exactly how Diclofenac works, but they think it works by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis by shutting down cyclooxygenase. Diclofenac thwarts inflammation and stiffness caused by maladies like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual cramps and ankylosing spondylitis. Diclofenac is also used by people suffering from kidney stones and gallstones, along with people suffering from cancer.
Diclofenac Heart Problems and NSAIDs
Diclofenac is a NSAID, which stands for "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs." The term "Non-steroidal" differentiates these drugs, such as Diclofenac, from those made with steroids. NSAIDs like Diclofenac are not made with narcotics. Other popular NSAIDS include VIOXX, Celebrex, Bextra, aspirin and ibuprofen. Just because a drug is in the NSAID class does not necessarily mean that it will cause heart problems, however, many have been shown to significantly increase the chance of heart problems. This study specifically showed Diclofenac use to significantly increase the chance of cardiovascular events, or heart problems. NSAIDs are also called "non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents/analgesics." The journal's Diclofenac heart problem findings were also compared to rates of heart problems with other drugs.
Diclofenac Heart Problems Compared to Other Drugs
Diclofenac causes heart problems at about the same rate as Vioxx, which was taken off the market by Merck & Co. because it caused heart problems. Diclofenac, which increases a user's probability of having a of heart attack by 40 percent, poses the same risk level as that of people who took low doses of Vioxx. Compared to Naproxen, another pain reliever, Diclofenac did worse because its users' incidence of heart problems was greater. Naproxen showed no cardiac risk. Diclofenac users suffered more heart problems than those who used Celebrex, whose users had miniscule heart problems. The study showed that Celebrex caused no heart problems at doses of 200 milligrams or less. However, compared to Diclofenac, Celebrex shows increased cardiovascular risks at doses of 400 milligrams or greater. The pain medication comparison showed that overall, Diclofenac proved to be the most likely to cause heart problems.