The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised people to avoid diclofenac if they are at a risk of suffering from heart disease or stroke.
Painkillers are a lifeline for people suffering from arthritis and other painful conditions. Opioids like morphine are highly effective, but cannot be used routinely since they could result in dependence and could be abused. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been the mainstay in the treatment of painful muscular conditions and joint-related pains.
AdvertisementA new class of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors was introduced in the market. Unfortunately, rofecoxib and valdecoxib from this class of drugs was banned due to their risk related to increasing heart disease.
A new advisory by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) informs patients with an underlying heart disease to avoid another NSAID, diclofenac.
Diclofenac has been widely used over the years by millions of patients the world over for conditions ranging from flu and headache to arthritis and gout. It is available over the counter in most countries.
Officials now indicate that its use could be associated with the development of heart attack or stroke. Therefore, people who are already at a risk of these conditions like people with heart failure or other heart diseases or circulatory problems should avoid the use of over-the-counter as well as prescription diclofenac.
In patients who do not have a risk of heart disease or stroke, the drug is likely to be safe in terms of cardiovascular risk. But those with an underlying risk factor like those with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol should consult their doctor before taking the medication.
Reference: PLOS Medicine.