Certain Painkillers Tied to Raised Risk of Death After Stroke
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Saturday, November 08, 2014 10:39 AM

Arthritis pain relievers known as COX-2 inhibitors, including Celebrex and Lodine, are associated with an increased risk of dying within a month after a stroke, according to a new study.

"This large study from Denmark adds to the prior concerns about COX-2 inhibitors and stroke risks."  "Patients at high risk for stroke should be cautious about taking such medications and should consult their physicians as to the best medications to treat inflammation and pain."

Other types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) -- including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) -- weren't linked to an increased risk of death after stroke, the study authors said.

COX-2 inhibitors have previously been linked to an increased risk for both heart attack and stroke. In 2004, Merck pulled the popular painkiller Vioxx from the market because of this association. The next year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked Pfizer to voluntarily stop selling Bextra (valdecoxib) because of its link with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Celebrex (celecoxib), however, which is in the same class of drugs and also made by Pfizer, remains on the market.

In the new study, based on more than 100,000 people, the investigators wanted to see if the painkillers affected recovery from a stroke. The researchers found that use of Celebrex prior to hospitalization for ischemic stroke was associated with a 19 percent increase in risk of death within a month, compared with non-use of the drug.  "Much of this result came from new users of the drugs, who were 42 percent more likely to die from stroke than those who were not taking the drugs." 

"The results were also stronger for those taking the older COX-2 inhibitors." The older drugs -- for example, Lodine (etodolac) -- raised the risk of dying from stroke by 53 percent, the researchers reported.

Of the more than 100,000 stroke patients the researchers looked at, 11 percent used painkillers prior to admission and 8 percent were former users.  "There are several cardiovascular risks to consider when prescribing NSAIDs, in particular COX-2 inhibitors."  "Efforts should be made to ensure people with a higher risk of stroke are not prescribed these medications when other options are available,"

Source:  http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/arthritis-management-news-40/certain-painkillers-may-raise-risk-of-dying-after-stroke-693467.html