After reviewing new evidence of the risks of heart attack and stroke, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strengthened its warning on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Although NSAIDs are available in prescription form, they are most commonly purchased over-the-counter (OTC) and include ibuprofen which is sold under the brand names Advil and Motrin, and naproxen sold under the brand name Aleve.
The New Warning
NSAIDs already had a warning label stating, that the medications “may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke that can lead to death.” The new wording will indicate that it definitely increases the risk of heart failure. Other information that will be reflected in the OTC labels includes:
- Even short-term use can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. It can happen within the first weeks of using NSAIDS.
- Longer use may increase the risk.
- Even if you don’t have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, NSAIDs can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
- If you do have heart disease or heart disease risk factors, taking an NSAID is even riskier for you.
- Taking NSAIDs after a heart attack increases your chance of dying within the first year.
OTC NSAIDs can pose the greatest danger because you may not realize that the medicine you are taking contains the dangerous ingredient. So many products contain NSAIDs that it is easy to wind up with a higher than recommended dose. Many cold and allergy treatments contain NSAIDs, and it is not uncommon for people to reach for pain relievers on top of their cold and allergy medications when they are not feeling well, not realizing that they are getting a double dose.