Heart Attack Survivors May Want to Avoid Painkillers

By Emily Murray

New research warns heart attack survivors of the possible danger of taking NSAIDs. In the five years following a heart attack, it is now believed that taking any of these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, either prescription or over-the-counter, may lead to an increased risk of having a second potentially fatal heart attack.

Essentially the most common in the NSAID category found over the counter include Advil, Motrin and Aleve typically used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. One of the most common prescription NSAIDs is Celebrex.  These are often used to help manage the symptoms of arthritis.

This information was recently published in the America Heart Association journal Circulation.

The Study 

Researchers in Denmark from Copenhagen University Hospital followed roughly 100,000 people 30 or older who had lived through a heart attack between the years 1997 and 2009. They also found that 44% of these people have filed at least one prescription for an NSAID. The result was that those who took the NSAID had a 59% higher risk of death within one year of their heart attack and 63% higher risk in the five years after.

Researchers warn that since NSAIDs are sold over-the-counter, the public perception is that they are completely safe but for those who have suffered a heart attack, this many not be the case. They did explain however that the most commonly prescribed NSAID after a heart attack, Aspirin, does not seem to have this same negative effect.

The study sheds some valuable light on a potential hazard many heart attack victims previously believed was harmless.

Here are some other ways to stay healthy after a heart attack from http://www.nlm.nih.gov

*Return to exercise gently, walking is the easiest and in the first week should be done for about 5 minutes at a time and can be increased by 5 minutes each week.

*Stay active with light work around the house

and also some pointers and preventative guidelines from the American Heart Association

*keep at a healthy weight

*don’t smoke

*manage your diabetes

* reduce overall stress amounts

*limit alcohol intake

*lower cholesterol and blood pressure