Diclofenac increases the risk of heart attack

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EU agency warns of painkiller Diclofenac

The EU's highest pharmaceutical authority advises careful handling of diclofenac. The active ingredient found in numerous prescription pain relievers can lead to serious side effects and increase the risk of heart attack.

Warning from the EU authority A new EU safety notice regarding the pain reliever diclofenac is causing uncertainty among patients. The EU's highest pharmaceutical authority (EMA) issued a warning a few months ago. As a result of this, a letter from the Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care was issued to the domestic hospitals, doctors 'and pharmacists' chambers at the end of October, stating among other things: "The benefits of diclofenac outweigh the risks. However, the data currently available indicate that therapy with diclofenac is associated with an increased risk of arterial thrombotic events, such as increased heart failure and an increased risk of heart attack. ”

Most popular prescription pain reliever The active ingredient diclofenac, which is an effective pain and inflammation inhibitor, is contained in 80 pain relievers in Austria, such as Voltaren or Deflamat. Also in Austria, diclofenac is the most common prescription pain reliever. The drug could lead to serious complications from thickening of the blood. The ratio is 1,000 to three, which means that three out of a thousand patients treated with diclofenac experience serious side effects.

High-risk patients should do without People who suffer from heart failure, angina pectoris or the so-called window disease should avoid diclofenac altogether. Likewise, patients with circulatory disorders in the brain or after a heart attack. And careful handling of such pain relievers is advised for people who suffer from high blood pressure, fat metabolism disorders or diabetes or who are smokers. Healthy, fit people could still be prescribed Diclofenac safely, but the pain specialist Andreas Sandner-Kiesling from Graz also warns: “In a patient who is overweight, possibly diabetic and has high blood pressure, the likelihood is that he will have a serious side effect , given. With heart failure or an existing calcification of any vessel in the body, it means: stay away from this medication. "

Rethinking Pain Therapy Necessary The new findings became known when the results of a large investigation initiated by the British health authority were available. These were then forwarded to the EU member states and those responsible there, and as a first step the technical and usage information for doctors and the patient information leaflet were revised. As Christoph Baumgärtel from the Austrian Medicines Agency explained, pain therapy must now also be rethought: “What is new and important is that these medicines are now only given in the lowest possible dose and only for the shortest possible period of time. These long-term therapies, where previously patients - if they were chronic pain patients - had been treated with diclofenac for months, maybe even years, should be a thing of the past. In this respect, it is not bad that this sending out of the drug agency has also caused a bit of unrest within the medical profession. It is a sign that this message has at least been accepted and read. "

Withdrawal from Diclofenac? Diclofenac is one of the most common pain relievers worldwide and belongs to the so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). The World Health Authority (WHO) is listed on its list of essential medicines as NSAIDs ibuprofen and ASA, but not diclofenac. British and Canadian physicians even wrote in an older issue of PLOS Medicine: "There are strong reasons to withdraw your approvals worldwide." (Ad)

Image: Martin Berk / pixelio.de

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Video: Study: NSAIDS Like Ibuprofen Linked to Higher Heart Attack Risk

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