A new Danish study published in the acclaimed British Medical Journal may make you think twice before looking for analgesics in the future.
The research claims that a common ingredient in popular pills such as Voltaren can increase your chances of having a heart attack by 50 percent and has led to calls for global action to reduce the use of the drug.
In addition to heart attacks, the study links diclofenac to cardiovascular disease, including arrhythmic heartbeats, ischemic stroke, and heart failure.
Research says that a common ingredient in Voltaren can increase your chances of having a heart attack by 50 percent
In addition to heart attacks, the study links diclofenac to cardiovascular disease, including arrhythmic heartbeat, ischemic stroke and heart failure.
Diclofenac is a component that is frequently found in analgesics used to treat back pain, sciatica and arthritis.
It also gives short-term relief from headaches, toothache, period pain and cold and flu symptoms.
Diclofenac is found in Voltaren and in other brands such as Arthrotec.
Researchers analyzed the cardiovascular risks associated with diclofenac compared with other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The results are based on data from the national registry of more than 6.3 million adults in Denmark taken from 1996 to 2016.
The researchers found that the increased risks were applied to men and women of all ages and also to those who took low doses of diclofenac.
The report, which was conducted by researcher Morten Schmidt at the University Hospital of Aarhus in Denmark, concludes that patients should try other NSAIDs before taking pills containing diclofenac as a last resort.
"Given their cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks, however, there is little justification for starting diclofenac before other traditional NSAIDs," they said in a statement.
Researchers believe that it is time for the possible health risks of the drug to be recognized and for its use to be reduced, including not making it available without a prescription.
Since January 2015, the government of the United Kingdom has restricted the sale of the drug only to the prescription.
This is not the first study that linked diclofenac with coronary heart disease. In 2013, a major study from the University of Oxford found that for every 1,000 people with a moderate risk of heart disease who took 150 mg a day for a year, about three would experience a preventable heart attack, one of which would be fatal.
Since January 2015, the government of the United Kingdom has restricted the sale of the drug only to prescription drugs.
However, it is still available over the counter in Australia in low doses.