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Drugs for Arthritis, Pain can lead to Stroke Death

Update Date: Nov 05, 2014 04:31 PM EST
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Researchers uncovered more evidence that certain pain relievers and drugs prescribed for arthritis can contribute to stroke death.

For this study, the researchers examined the health records of 100,243 patients who suffered from a stroke in Denmark from 2004 to 2012. The team also looked at the number of deaths within one month after the stroke. The drugs studied were COX-2 inhibiters, which included older drugs diclofenac, etodolac, nabumeton and meloxicam, and newer drugs, coxibs. On top of these drugs, the team also looked at non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

"While newer versions of these COX-2 inhibitors drugs have been pulled off shelves, older ones are still frequently prescribed," said study author Morten Schmidt, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. "Our study provides further important evidence solidifying the risks of certain arthritic pain relievers and death from stroke."

Overall, patients who were current users of COX-2 inhibitors had a 19 percent greater risk of death after a stroke in comparison to patients who did not take the drugs. Patients, who were grouped as new users of older COX-2 inhibitors, had a 42 percent higher risk of death from stroke when compared to patients who were not on the drugs. The researchers noted that the drug, etodolac, increased risk of dying from a stroke by 53 percent.

"Our study supports stepping up efforts to make sure people with a higher risk of stroke are not prescribed these medications when other options are available," Schmidt concluded according to the press release.

The team did not find a relationship between non-selective NSAIDs and risk of stroke death. They also did not link chronic drug use to stroke mortality.

The study was published in the journal, Neurology.

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