Researchers named the most dangerous anti-inflammatory among naproxen, ibuprofen and diclofenac

Ksenia Novikova
Jul 13, 2018
01:10 P.M.

In many countries, it is possible to buy drugs such as ibuprofen without a prescription. Citizens take these medications for all kinds of pain without major restrictions, but they are not as harmless as they are thought to be.


According to El País, medical and health authorities have long warned that they are not safe. A study published in March 2017 in the European Heart Journal has concluded that they increase the risk of cardiac arrest by 31%.

The same analysis indicated that other drugs of the same type, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), present an even higher risk. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa

According to the authors of the work, led by the Gentofte University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, naproxen is the safest NSAID, and a patient could take up to 500 milligrams a day safely.

Diclofenac is the most dangerous of these drugs, and according to the researchers, it should be avoided altogether because there are other drugs with similar, safer effects.

Image source: Shutterstock.

Image source: Shutterstock.

‘Allowing these drugs to be purchased without a prescription, and without any advice or restrictions, sends a message to the public that they must be safe’, said Professor Gunnar Gislason, who led the study.


‘NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication. They should probably be avoided in patients with cardiovascular disease or many cardiovascular risk factors,’ added Gislason.

To carry out this study, the scientists collected all the cardiac arrests registered in Denmark between 2001 and 2010. They also collected all the information available on prescriptions of these drugs since 1995

Image source: Shutterstock.

Image source: Shutterstock.


Within the period of time that was observed, 28,947 had had a cardiac arrest outside the hospital in the country. Of these, 3,376 had taken NSAIDs up to 30 days before admission.

Ibuprofen and diclofenac were the two most commonly used drugs, covering respectively 51% and 22% of total use. Regarding the increased risk of cardiac arrest, ibuprofen was responsible for 31% and diclofenac 50%.

The ages of the people who suffered these health problems ranged from 58.7 years to 78.5.

Image source: Shutterstock.

Image source: Shutterstock.


Among the possible explanations, the authors state that the effects can be due to the addition of platelets that cause clots and cause the arteries to narrow generating fluid retention increases and blood pressure rises.

‘I do not think these drugs should be sold in supermarkets or gas stations where there is no professional advice on how to use them. NSAIDs should only be available in pharmacies, in limited quantities and low doses,’ said Gislason.

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