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Study- Painkillers and Heart Problems

susan_harr5 years ago

A new study published in the British Medical Journal found an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms with use of prescription and non-prescription pain killers like Advil, Aleve, and Celebrex.

The Study

  • Analyzed link between Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and COX 2 Inhibitors and atrial fibrillation or flutter (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Included 32,602 patients with diagnosis of atrial fibrillation or flutter between 1999 and 2008 and 325,918 control cases
  • Measured NSAID/COX 2 Inhibitor use at the time of admission and before admission


  • Use of non-aspirin NSAIDs was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter (abnormal heart rhythm).
  • Compared with non-users, the association was strongest for new users, with a 40-70% increase in relative risk (lowest for non-selective NSAIDs and highest for COX 2 inhibitors).
Effects of atrial fibrillation or flutter (abnormal heart rhythm)

According to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where the heart beats erratically. Atrial flutter is where the heart beats rapidly but regularly.

  • The primary danger from these conditions is stroke because these arrhythmias prevent the atria from pumping blood effectively
  • About 15% of strokes occur in persons with atrial fibrillation
Common NSAIDs and COX 2 Inhibitors


  • Advil
  • Aleve
  • Motrin
  • Ibuprofin

COX 2 Inhibitor

  • Celebrex
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