These Painkillers May Boost Blood Pressure in Arthritis Patients

Popular NSAIDS are not as safe as we thought … 

(MARY ELIZABETH DALLAS, HEALTHDAY NEWS) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may raise blood pressure in patients with arthritis, a new study suggests.

Almost 19 percent of Americans routinely use at least one NSAID. ©Oscarcwilliams | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

“The current findings suggest that the elevated cardiovascular risk with NSAIDs may be partly due to drug-specific increases in blood pressure,” said principal investigator Dr. Frank Ruschitzka. He is co-head of the department of cardiology at the University Heart Centre in Zurich.

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“Patients with osteoarthritis and arthritis should continue to consult their doctor before taking NSAIDs… and clinicians need to weigh the potential hazards of worsening blood pressure control when considering the use of these agents,” Ruschitzka added in a European Society of Cardiology news release.

NSAIDs are among the most widely used drugs in the world, with almost 19 percent of Americans routinely using at least one NSAID. Warnings on the labels of these drugs caution against possible increases in blood pressure, but there is little evidence on the effects of specific drugs, the researchers explained.

Meanwhile, 30 million Americans have osteoarthritis, and 40 percent of those people also have high blood pressure, the study authors noted.

Managing high blood pressure in patients with arthritis could prevent more than 70,000 deaths from stroke and 60,000 deaths from heart disease each year, they pointed out.

To examine any link between specific NSAIDs and high blood pressure, the researchers compared the effects of the selective Cox-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) with the NSAIDs naproxen (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

A total of 444 patients treated at 60 different locations in the United States were randomly assigned to receive a dose of celecoxib twice a day, a dose of ibuprofen three times daily, a twice daily dose of naproxen, or matching placebos.

Of all the patients in the study, 92 percent had osteoarthritis and 8 percent had rheumatoid arthritis. READ FULL ARTICLE AT HEALTHDAY NEWS