Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that treat inflammation and pain raise the risk of congenital heart disease, heart attack and other conditions for people with osteoarthritis, new findings show.
In fact, people with osteoarthritis who take NSAIDs have a 23 percent higher likelihood of developing cardiac disease compared to people without the condition, according to a study published in August in Arthritis Rheumatology.
In addition, they have a 42 percent higher risk of developing congestive heart failure, 17 percent of ischemic heart disease and 14 percent risk of stroke.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal study to evaluate the mediating role of NSAID use in the relationship between osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease in a large population-based sample," senior study author Aslam Anis, a researcher at the University of British Columbia and study senior author, said in a news release.
For this longitudinal study, the researchers examined data for 7,743 osteoarthritis patients from British Columbia, Canada, comparing them with 23,229 people who did not have osteoarthritis. They found about 41 percent of the cardiovascular risk within this group came from NSAID use.
"Our results indicate that osteoarthritis is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and suggest a substantial proportion of the increased risk is due to the use of NSAIDs," Anis said. "This is highly relevant because NSAIDs are some of the most commonly used drugs to manage pain in patients with osteoarthritis. It's important for people with OA to talk to their care providers and discuss the risks and benefits of NSAIDs."