Older painkiller, naproxen, found to be safest

Dear Bloggers,

Shocking news this morning a legend, the king of pop, Michael Jackson went to fiddler's green. Sometimes I am worried that my painkillers could trigger a heart attack or dangerous stomach bleeding as today it was mentioned in the news that Wacko Jacko died of a cardiac arrest. And that the painkillers he is using might have caused his death, it made me think that maybe the next victim is me. So I started reading reports again and to my surprise I read that diclofenac is pretty dangerous.

New reports on painkiller risks, based on reviews of dozens of studies including hundreds of thousands of patients, indicate most patients should try naproxen, an older anti-inflammatory drug.
Experts say it doesn't raise heart attack or stroke risk -- a major worry for older people -- and naproxen is inexpensive because generic versions have been around for years. Available over the counter, it's taken by millions of people worldwide.
The drawback is that like most painkillers, it can irritate the stomach, so doctors say some people may also need to take one of the newer acid reflux drugs.

"I do think we should start with naproxen in the vast majority of cases," said Dr. Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic and president of the American College of Cardiology. "It's about balancing the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risk."
Along with the good news about naproxen, the two studies raise new concerns about a few painkillers, particularly diclofenac, which has been on the market since 1988. The commonly used anti-inflammatory drug, also sold as Voltaren and Cataflam, carries as high a risk of heart attack or stroke as Vioxx.

The new analyses also provide even more evidence of the dangers to the heart and kidneys posed by Vioxx, which was pulled from the market two years ago.
The latest findings should help patients and doctors confused about painkiller safety since news began unfolding about the risks of Vioxx, Bextra and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Using any of those drugs, liver and kidney function tests should be required every six months.
The heart risks from diclofenac were reported by researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia. That report recommends regulators review whether diclofenac should stay on the market.

According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the painkiller naproxen has less of a cardiovascular risk than other drugs. Here are the rankings of risk estimates, from lowest risk estimate to highest risk estimate:
1. Naproxen
2. Celebrex
3. Ibuprofen
4. Other anti-inflammatory drugs
5. Mobic
6. Vioxx
7. Voltaren

I think it is about time that I should discuss this with my doctor, at my death there will not be such a media hype. But at least seven persons will miss me.
The Old Sailor,


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