Painkiller risk goes beyond Vioxx

Taking painkillers could place patients at risk for more cardiac problems or even death if they've already suffered a heart attack or have heart failure, according to a study by Danish researchers.

The researchers presented data at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans showing that patients taking any of several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications were at increased risk of heart attack or death. Patients taking generic ibuprofen had 1.3 times the risk; patients taking the generic diclofenac had 1.9 times the risk; patients taking Pfizer's Celebrex had twice the risk; and patients who had taken the now-withdrawn Vioxx had 2.7 times the risk of death or another heart attack.

At least one of the researchers recommended that physicians now avoid these types of painkillers, or use low doses, in patients with a history of heart attack or heart failure. 

- read the story in the New York Times 

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