Every one of us take painkillers at some time or the other to get relieved from pains like toothache, stomach ache, head ache, wounds, ulcers, etc. Most of us take medicines once in a while or for a couple of days till the pain alleviates. There is no problem for such people. But there are many patients who have been suffering from chronic pain due to diseases like Arthritis, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. It has been found that those who consume very high doses of painkillers for really a long period of time have high risk of getting heart diseases and heart attacks. The details are listed below:
Which Painkillers are dangerous?
Consuming any high dose painkiller for prolonged period has been proven to be dangerous and increases the risk of getting heart attacks. The drugs which cause potential threats include ibuprofen, diclofenac, Vioxx, Coxibs, etc. The drugs in the Coxibs class include Cerecoxib which is being sold by Pfizer as Celebrex and Etoricoxib sold by Merck as Arcoxia. The drug Vioxx which was sold by Merck was withdrawn from the market in 2004 due to its potential dangers.
The dangers faced by consuming high dose painkillers include strokes, heart attacks and even deaths.
To whom is this relevant?
High doses of painkillers are being consumed by patients who are suffering from chronic pain due to diseases like Arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. the painkillers pose a threat only to those people who are consuming high doses of the painkiller for prolonged periods. Drugs like Ibuprofen and Diclofenac are being consumed by millions of Indians and do their daily work. About 11 in 1000 people who consume these drugs have been suffering heart attacks.
Following people have high risk of being infected with Heart attack
- Obese people
- People with high blood pressure and tension
Those having high cholesterol or high blood pressure pose a higher chance of getting heart attacks due to these drugs.
Which medicines are safe?
Some of the medicines like Naproxen are not dangerous. This drug eve if consumed in high doses do not pose a threat unlike other medicines.
Who should not be worried?
For those who take these drugs as a lifeline for diseases like Arthritis need not worry of the side effects.
What should we do?
Since the above mentioned medicines pose a threat, it does not mean that patients should abandon the medicine. There are a lot of benefits being offered by the medicine and this should not be neglected. It is the duty of the doctor to make the patient aware of the side effects of taking such medicines. However, we can discuss with the doctor to evaluate better medicines or alternatives that has lesser side effects.
Following are some of the steps that we can take to reduce the side effects
- Stopping to smoke
- Having a healthy diet
- Keeping blood pressure under control
- Reducing the overweight
What are the other problems faced due to painkillers
- Increased risk of heart failure
- Gastrointestinal complications like bleeding ulcers