February 12, 2013

Powerful painkillers should be prescribed with caution

Pharmacist discussing medication with patientResearchers have claimed that the heart risks associated with a certain type of painkiller outweigh any potential benefits.

Authors of a new study say diclofenac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug found to be widely used in many countries around the world, should be removed from national essential medicines lists and should no longer be marketed. Researchers say there are safer alternatives.

Diclofenac is prescribed in the UK.

Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “The risks associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, which include diclofenac, have been known for some years and they should always be prescribed with caution.

“Anyone taking these painkillers should be made aware of both their risks - especially of cardiovascular disease and internal bleeding - and benefits in treating debilitating pain such as that caused by arthritis.

“If you are taking these powerful drugs and are worried, discuss your concerns with your GP or pharmacist who will be able to help you decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.”

The latest research into diclofenac was published in PLoS Medicine.