- Prescribing Advice for GPs - https://www.prescriber.org.uk -

NSAID Scare

The publication of a meta-analysis examining the relationship between Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and atherothrombotic events in the British Medical Journal has prompted widespread media reporting.

The BBC has reported the story online and GMTV has carried the story as a news item.

This latest meta-analysis adds weight to two recent observational studies, one examining the association between NSAID use and hospital admission for heart failure in a UK population1, the other examining the association between NSAID use and hospital admission for myocardial infarction in Finland2.

Clinicians may not be surprised by the results of the studies as it is expected that all NSAIDs will increase the risk of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and renal complications. The strong media reporting may however encourage patients to contact a healthcare professional with their concerns.

Action: Clinicians can take advantage of the opportunity presented by the media reporting to reduce or stop prescribing NSAIDs, where appropriate, in individuals concerned about potential side effects. Alternative analgesia can be offered where required using paracetamol based pain-killers.

  1. Huerta C et al, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of first hospital admission for heart failure in the general population. Heart 2006
  2. Helin-Salmivaara A et al, NSAID use and the risk of hospitalization for first myocardial infarction in the general population: a nationwide case-control study from Finland. European Heart Journal 2006