Businessman with chest pain

People in pain regularly face a terrible dilemma: must you endure the pain, or should you risk the side effects of the pain reliever? The bad news about the dangers of the most commonly used pain relievers, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), for the heart and the cardiovascular system continues to accumulate. We’re guessing that very few American health care providers noticed an article in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) that was published on July 4, 2011. It was a holiday weekend, after all.

The article was titled: “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter: population based case-control study.” Even though this research disappeared without a trace into a giant black hole, it is incredibly important for tens of millions of Americans (as well as people all over the world).

The Danish Study on NSAIDs and A-Fib:

The research was carried out on 32,602 patients in Northern Denmark who were diagnosed with A-fib (atrial fibrillation) or flutter. These can be serious arrhythmias with devastating consequences. Because the upper chambers of the heart are not beating forcefully, blood clots can form in the left atrium and travel to the brain, leading to a stroke.

Why Warfarin Is Used in A-Fib:

That is why people who are diagnosed with A-fib are often prescribed blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin). Although this anticoagulant can reduce the risk of developing a blood clot and a stroke, it carries its own risks. Visit our drug library to read about the dangers of various drug and food interactions with warfarin.

The subjects in the Danish study were matched with 325,918 control patients to compare the use of pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), ketoprofen (Orudis), meloxicam (Mobic) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, etc). The investigators reported that,

“In this large population based case-control study, we found that patients starting treatment with non-aspirin NSAIDs were at increased risk of atrial fibrillation or flutter compared with those not using NSAIDs. The relative risk increase was 40-70%–equivalent to approximately four extra cases per year of atrial fibrillation per 1,000 new users of non-selective NSAIDs and seven extra cases per year of atrial fibrillation per 1,000 new users of COX 2 inhibitors. The risk appeared highest in older people.”

These investigators speculate that the pain reliever might trigger irregular heart rhythms through an adverse effect on the kidneys.

Does This Risk Matter to You?

Now, you might blow off the idea of 4 or even 7 cases of atrial fib per 1,000 users of NSAIDs, figuring that your risk is really low. That’s probably true if you are young and healthy. But the risk goes up if you have kidney problems or are older. And keep in mind that an estimated 20 million Americans swallow a nonprescription NSAID pain reliever each day. Add in prescription NSAIDs like Celebrex, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen or meloxicam (total annual prescriptions for such NSAIDs is more than 60 million) and you discover an astonishing public health worry. According to our calculations, that could equal over 200,000 cases of drug-induced atrial fibrillation annually.

Other Evidence That NSAIDs Could Trigger A-Fib:

This isn’t the first time NSAIDs have been linked to A-fib, nor is it the last. A study of patients in the UK published in 2010 also reported an association (roughly 44% increased risk) in patients taking such pain relievers (Arch. Intern. Med. 2010; 170:1450-1455). A meta-analysis of five studies found a 12% increased risk for atrial fibrillation among people taking NSAID pain relievers (American Journal of Cardiology, Nov. 15, 2014). More recently, a case-control study in Taiwan found that people who took NSAIDs had a significantly increased risk of developing A-fib (Chuang et al, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, online March 20, 2018).

Could NSAIDs Be Adding to the Epidemic of Atrial Fibrillation?

We have been wondering why there seems to be such an epidemic of atrial fibrillation in the U.S. Over the last few decades we have heard of more and more middle-aged people being diagnosed with A-fib. We used to think of this as an older person’s problem. Now we are starting to consider the possibility that it could be brought on in part by our love affair with NSAIDs.

Other Cardiovascular Complications Associated with NSAIDs:

Researchers have suggested a biological mechanism that would explain exactly how NSAIDs increase the risk of cardiovascular complications, including heart attacks and strokes (Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, online Sept. 20, 2015).

Another Danish study, this one including 150,900 people with atrial fibrillation, found that when such patients take NSAIDS they are much more likely to experience serious bleeding or life-threatening blood clots (Annals of Internal Medicine, Nov. 18, 2014). In 2015, a different study confirmed that NSAID treatment of people with A-fib taking an anticoagulant approximately doubles the risk of dangerous bleeding, from 2.2 to 4.2 per 100 person-years (JAMA, Feb. 24, 2015).

As if all this weren’t enough, we have increasing evidence that NSAIDs increase the risk of heart attacks.

What Is a Person in Pain to Do?

So, what is someone with arthritis or bursitis or tendinitis or just about any other “itis” to do? One could consider aspirin if not already taking an anticoagulant medication. Aspirin is just as good as any NSAID as a pain reliever, but instead of causing heart attacks it reduces that risk. Of course, aspirin does increase the danger of serious stomach irritation or even a bleeding or perforated ulcer. That is not a trivial risk.

Looking for a Natural Pain Reliever:

We are leaning more and more towards natural approaches for pain and inflammation. Should you be interested, we have a book published by National Geographic (The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies) that offers lots of non-drug options for arthritis and other inflammatory problems. It includes many classic home remedies (gin-soaked golden raisins and Certo and grape juice) plus great information about anti-inflammatory products like turmeric, pomegranates, ginger, boswellia, cherries, honey and vinegar, pineapple juice, vitamin D and fish oil.

Now that we know NSAIDs pose such a significant cardiovascular and heart risk, perhaps it is time for the FDA to reconsider promiscuous use of these drugs and warn people about some of these newly discovered dangers.

Revised 5/10/18

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  1. Virginia

    As I have reported before, you must find a good physical therapist to help with your pain relief. Also each of us is responsible for our own health, so we must quit things like smoking, over-eating, and not getting appropriate exercise. You cannot do this alone or totally rely on MDs, they can kill you!

    A good PT helps in all sorts of ways and you should also consider trigger-point dry needling by the PT-it has been miraculous for my damaged back. Look towards physical medicine or even acupuncture for some relief, because chronic pain wears you out!

  2. Ann

    Not only did taking these drugs cause me to have A Fib but also damaged my kidneys. Now I have chronic kidney disease as well. I only take Tylenol now for pain.

    • SARA

      Ann, my G.P. has told me I should only take Tylenol only, but I recently read that it is bad for us, too! Wish I could recall where I read the article!

  3. Someone

    Use Curamin instead.

  4. Cantrell

    I definitely had heart palpitations after taking Aleve but I also seem to get them after taking regular Tylenol and otc Claritin. Has anyone else experienced this? I also have AFIB.

  5. Bonnie B

    Since February of this year I have had several short bursts of A fib. At the same time, my knees have been very painful ( at 65 I need knee replacements) so I have taken Advil on a regular basis until the knee pain abated. In October we had house guests for 10 days and I was on my feet cooking, cleaning, etc. and my knees really hurt. So I took more Advil. By the end of the 10 days I was having several episodes a day of heart palpations/a fib runs. To learn today that there is a relationship between Advil use and heart arrythmias IS HUGE!!! No more Advil for me and I will seriously consider those knee replacements so I don’t have to depend of Advil in the future!

  6. BrendaC

    I have degenerative disc disease and had tried to not take anything (except topical) for a long time but the pain was daily and increasing. The dr gave me a script for Celebrex. I read the pamphlet that came with it and all the warnings. But I realize that each person reacts differently and I so wanted to get relief. And I did. It was wonderful. No back pain and I just felt so much better all over (little arthritis in shoulder and neck). Around 5 or 6 weeks I began getting heart palps. I remembered the side effects so I stopped taking the prescription. I went off of it for about 3 months and the palps stopped.

    Then about 6 months later after dealing w/the daily pain I decided to try it again just in case it could have been caused from something else. A few weeks of taking it the palps returned. And I stopped for good. It is scary to think about causing a heart problem from a medicine that is helping you. Now I take only skelaxin and it has helped but has not alleviated the pain.

    I use a topical spray and alternate betweeen that and the over the counter lidocaine patch. Still have daily pain. :-(

  7. Bob

    Bob in the UK

    I had no doubt about the link between missed heartbeats and Ibuprofen long before this study. Now 72, I suffer from chronic arthritic pain and started taking low dose ibuprofen+paracetamol regularly some years ago and after some time I noticed a heart flutter which showed up as missing beats on my BP monitor and simultaneaously my sister in law mentioned to my wife that she was suffering from similar missing beats and when we compared notes we were both taking ibuprofen so we both stopped and the problem slowly disappeared.

    To try and ease the pain I started taking low dose ibuprofen+paracetamol again but the flutter came back with a vengeance, missing 1 in 4-5 beats, so I had to give up on the ibuprofen and the problem is now taking longer to recover, so I suspect that there is some permanent damage – based on my experience my advice to anyone is not to take ibuprofen, especially if you notice any heart irregularities.

  8. Karmel

    I am on Orudis anti-inflammatory it works well but am worried about side effects. Also on Endone, Panadeine forte, sleeping tablets for rheumatoid.

    Australia is now heading towards Medicinal cannabis thank God as I hear from relatives in Canada USA that it works well on inflammation and pain and rheumatoid plus many auto immune diseases.
    I think it is a HR abuse to prohibit such a God given healing herb. Millions out here suffering without Medicinal Cannabis.

  9. Marc

    People don’t seem to know the difference between heart palpitations and real atrial fibrillation! Both are totally different. Palpitations happen often, everyone have palpitations and they are not dangerous at all. Atrial fibrillation is different and way more dangerous, it’s a kind of very fast heart rate who is not coordinated so the heart can’t pump the blood properly all over the body and it can cause a lot of problems. Atrial fibrillation episode can last minutes to hours and will stop abruptly. Palpitations will happen often after eating or from stress or even at rest and will only produce a sensation of a missing heart beat, atrial fibrillation is horrible and it’s your heart you beat very fast sometimes more than 200 beats per minute and it will be completely uncoordinated so you will have symptoms of dizziness, out of breath, fainting and more.

    NSAID’s are causing a lot of heart problems and studies are there to prove it. I was taking a lot of Advil for my chronic headache for years and I develop high blood pressure, pounding heart rate, tachycardia… I don’t really know if it was linked to the Advil or not but when I stop taking the Advil, blood pressure return to the normal. I still have the tachycardia or fast heart rate, frequent palpitations daily and pounding heart beat in my chest all the time. My cardiologist don’t know what it is since all my tests are normal. I’m on a beta blocker med call metoprolol to reduce my heart rate and the pounding heart beat but it doesn’t seem to work anymore and make me feel very tired and exhausted.

    Anyway, palpitations are not dangerous so people have to stop freaking out. It’s very different from atrial fibrillation. Maybe you should make an article about what atrial fibrillation is? People here seem to confuse benign palpitations with atrial fibrillation…

  10. Vic
    St. Louis Missouri. USA

    Hey all,
    I just want to add to the conversation and hopefully help people suffering from the effects of NSAIDS. I’m a 41 year old male and have been suffering with inflammation problems for much of my adult life. Damaged joints and connective tissue from rough living as well as inheriting DJD and DDD. Disk disease and joint disease for those uninitiated. I was stupid with my youth as well and did a lot of damage to my body. On top of all that, I’m 6’1″ and weigh about 360 lbs. So a lot of weight on my hips and knees. ALSO I seems to have Costochondritas (Self Diagnosed as I am too poor to go to a Dr.) Well, with all of that, I am in CONSTANT Aching, stabbing LASER HOT SEARING pain in several locations all over my body. So, to deal with it I started taking ALEVE. THANK GOD FOR ALEVE. Or so I thought.

    About 5 months ago I took my dad out for lunch. I ate a little too much. Well when we came home, I went to bed. I had a severe attack of Heart palpitations. I chalked it up to eating too much and then laying down directly after. As the food digested and moved out of my stomach the palpitations slowly went away. On top of the anxiety that caused I was a little freaked out.
    Then it seemed I was getting them a LOT. And at all different times. Not to mention the fact that I was in the process of quitting smoking. (almost 6 months with no smokes as of July 29 2015).
    So Anxiety on top of the Arrhythmia I was FREAKED OUT GOOD!!!

    Then one day I see this news story about NSAIDS and heart arrhythmia and strokes. I’m like WTF!!! Then it hits me. I am taking sometimes 2 or 3 times the dose depending on how bad a pain day I am having. On the ten scale it can be 9 or 10 a lot of days. Which is damn near unbearable. So I was really dosing myself on Aleve, but it was the only thing that worked on my pain. So, I have become a lot more intimate with my pain. I haven’t taken an Aleve in damn near 3 weeks. I dumped ALL my aleve down the toilet. Both bottles. That’s like 300 wonderful pain relieving miracles I’m living without. BUT IM LIVING!!!!.

    And instead of having between 50 to 80 heart palpitations a day, I have had about 3 in the last 2 days. So, I’m more proof. Since quitting aleve my Arrhythmia has almost completely vanished. Now if I can just find a way to get rid of this damn pain. I won’t touch another NSAID except for ASPIRIN. I would rather live with ulcers and bleeding that a NON BEATING HEART OR STROKE!!! But even that only deals with pain to a certain level. And I WILL NOT touch narcotics. Dont even suggest it. Addiction is in my family tree, mostly Alcoholism. But I never drank or did drugs. And I JUST quit smoking after 20 years. So addiction is in my blood. And I don’t want to chance the Narcotics. Well regardless, Find an alternative to NSAIDS, you may well save your life.

    Vic from STL.

    • Sam

      I have had missed beats and flutters all my life. I was never frightened by them. A few years ago a flutter lasted longer so I visited a cardiologist who did all the tests and said I was fine. I’m 60 now. Always have had low back pain, and put my back out in the summer. The doctor told me to take 2 Advil 3-4 times daily for a month to reduce “inflamation”. Did so. At the end of the month had my first recorded high blood pressure ever (195/110) which was a surprise as I’ve always had low blood pressure. I felt really sick. It came down on its own and the doctors (ER) said, after many tests, that I was fine. Kept checking my BP and it was normal. A few days later I had what I guess is my first Afib. Horrible. Went on for hours then just stopped. Again a week later, but lasted only 3 minutes (thank you). But since these I’ve had continued racing, missed beats, flutters, weakness, terrible. Saw an electriophisiologist and wore a monitor for two weeks, and had an echocardiogram. I am very healthy otherwise, tall and low weight, vegetarian, active (until now). The only thing I did was take the Advil. And I did remember that the long episode of flutter a few years back was after putting my back out and the doctor saying “just take Advil” which I did.

      They should take this drug off the market. Even after stopping, and a month after the shorter Afib attack, I have palpitations all day long most days. On and off. It is debilitating, leaving me breathless and weak. I’ll bet there are millions out there like me. Advil should be banned. My opinion.

    • Teresa
      Houston, Texas

      Vic, wanted to see how you were doing since your post. Hope you are doing well.

      Teresa from Texas

  11. Wm.

    Is their a link between Excedrin and its generics (ASA, acetominophen, caffeine), esp. long-term, and A-Fib/Flutter?


      This is indeed a problem and I think it’s a great idea to see it on the web but surely the drug companies must get their act together and do more to notify patients of the real dangers of such drugs. I can add that it’s not just NSAID drugs but co-codamol [tylex] Sudafed for blocked noses and don’t forget that creams for joint pain can also cause problems.

      I was having missed beats and was sent to cardiologist where I had echocardiogram e.c.g and carotid scan all negative and felt a fraud. Still complained I was not right 3 cardiotracers done 2 negative however my doctor showed the 3rd to a Cardiologist at a meeting and he saw 9 missed beats per minute and advised doc to put me on an anticoagulant [ELIQUIS] not a very nice drug I might add but that’s me on it for life as I’ve been diagnosed with A.F.

  12. theodora
    athens, greece

    the article must be correct, my mother has arrythmia for about 5 days, she is 71, the arrhythmia started after a period when she took several nsaids like aleve, voltaren, fortarthrin to cure arthritis, the consequence of taking these nsaids was that the blood pressure was higher and was taking a second pill to manage to control hypertension, I think that this ups and downs of blood pressure was the cause of arrhythmia, she is not diagnosed with a.f. and the arrhythmia tends to fade, she had 3 or 4 arrhythmias the first couple of days, and yesterday and today she has only one.

  13. Greg
    Canton MA

    I was about 60 years and still playing a competitive sport Platform tennis. I took Aleve (naproxen) before my match to prevent stiffness afterwards. I began to get tightness in my chest and was near to passing out during the match. Then it disappeared after 20 seconds and I was fine. Then it began to happened twenty times a match. I had gone to my cardiologist many times because things like this had happened before. He would give me a stress test and tell me I had the heart of a thirty year old and kick me out.

    On my fifth visit he said no more stress tests and connected me to a take home monitor. The monitor recorded a heart beat event of 260 per minute. 48 hours later I had an icd implanted and a daily dose of 200 mg of metoprolol. I was told to stop playing my game platform tennis. Nobody ever asked me if I was taking nsaids. We all assumed it was the game that caused it.

    After three years of suffering the effects of metoprolol the thought occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t the paddle tennis, it was the nsaids. So I stopped taking the nsaids and the arrhythmias VT stopped. So I then stopped taking my meds and I felt great again. Now I’m playing my game like a champ with no arrhythmias.

    My only problem is how do I get rid this $200,000 icd implant with a metal lead running through my vein and screwed to the inside of my heart.

    Why didn’t my doctors ask me if I took nsaids and save me a lot of trouble??? I’m no freak. I’m sure there are many others out there with a similar problem (ventricular tachycardia) induced by nsaids. Before you do anything else, just try quitting the nsaids. A very cheap, timely, and low risk solution.

    • Gregor
      Watford, UK

      Thanks Greg. I am having arrhythmia as I am writing this comment. I made the connection at lunch time that it was ibuprofen and naproxen before it that has caused it. You are giving me hope that it will wear off now that I have stopped it.
      It was worse this morning, missing a beat every 30 beats, but now it is happening every 150 beats. Thanks again for sharing your case. I am 50, and I am inclined to believe that it is too early for me to have heart problems. I only took naproxen and ibuprofen because of a lower back problem that has healed now.

    • Vic

      I wish you didn’t have to suffer this crap. Just like myself. I had to give up powerlifting due to physical problems. So I gained a lot of weight and it just compounded my pain problems. ALEVE was my go to. And MAN has it done a number on me. It has been a nightmare for several months. Luckily I found out about the heart palpitations from Aleve. After quitting them, my heart is ALMOST back to normal. Only been off them for about three weeks. I hope I didn’t do permanent damage.

  14. Mary L

    My pulse slowed to 55-60 beats per minute (resting), with up to 12 long pauses, time for a ‘missed’ beat, since I was prescribed 70mg per day aspirin 5 months ago. I stopped taking aspirin a few days ago and my pulse is almost back to normal, with not more than 1 missed beat per minute and up to 70 beats per minute (resting). I think I will do without aspirin in future.

  15. s a wilson

    What concerns me about this study which will surely worry many of us who depend on controlling the pain of chronic illnesses such as osteoarthritis is that the article does not state whether the rather small increases in risk were statistically significant using the basic scientific rule of thumb p


    I was finally diagnosed after having an MRI scan on whole of back and it was decided that pain was so severe that I would be put on naproxen 500mgs twice a day with co-codamol smaller dose for day time and if required large dose for bed time, after being on this for 6 weeks approx I have been suffering from a.f. just feel that I am not getting enough o2 at times not a nice feeling.
    I was given diclofenic last year for almost the same time that I have been on naproxen I suffered strange pain in top of head and had the common sense to contact pharmacy who said to stop taking them as there is concern with the usage of diclofenic? g.p sent me for echo-cardiogram/and carotid scan both negative but cardiologist found heart murmur for the 3 months that I was not taking nsaid I was fine now I have pain almost every day in top of head.
    I can tell you if I didn’t require this drug for the severe nerve pain in back I would stop it tonight.
    also has anyone found a problem with muscles in eye while taking this drug?

  17. KKR

    In the beginning of April 2013 I had periodontal surgery (crown lengthening) and was given an RX for 600mg Ibuprofen for initial swelling and pain. I took as directed but the pain got very bad. Checked out ok and told pain should ease up and to add benzocaine topical to area. Took ibuprofen 400-600 mg and coated gum with benzocaine frequently–my fault, more frequently than I should. Didn’t think I’d have a problem as I had never had a reaction to ibuprofen and/or benzocaine. One day a few weeks later (still taking the ibuprofen and benzocaine) after being in the yard (hot and humid), I experienced an unusual flip-flop in my chest.
    After 4 hours I went to the ER and was diagnosed with AFIB. I mentioned the ibuprofen use and questioned if this could have caused it. ER Doctor, Cardiologist both said “no”, “never heard of that”. Well, I am still convinced that this was a cause. Now I have paroxysmal afib and on an anticoagulant daily as well as medication for when I have an episode.
    Now, unfortunately, I have arthritis pain and have nothing to take except acetaminophen–and we know about that drug……

    • Vic

      While I was dosing myself on Aleve, I would get EYE twitches, muscle flutters all over, heart palpitations all the time. I too have severe back problems. DJD and Disk disease, as well as a broken Sacrum. (broke when I was 24. Never healed and can’t afford surgery.)
      All those problems are ALMOST completely gone since I have stopped taking Aleve. I take a single 250 MG aspirin and 2 200 MG tylenol a day and I suffer through the pain that remains.
      I take the Aspirin as a blood thinner in case the Palpitations caused blood clots. I don’t drink alcohol so the tylenol should not be a problem for my liver. I also take
      “Vitamin D 10’000 IU a day, and about 1000 MG of Fish oil a day and Drink 1 Tsp of Baking soda and 1 Tsp of Turmeric mixed in a glass of water” to control any inflammation. Its helping a LOT with the pain.

  18. JMC

    I will be 61 tomorrow and have been living with diabetes for about 15 years (2-3 untreated/undiagnosed) as well as hepatitis-C since the mid-80’s. A recent liver biopsy revealed only minimal damage which I and my gastroenterologist found to be pretty phenomenal. I work as a self-employed professional and hold a part-time job which is extremely physical.
    Last weekend, I attended all hours of a 3-day music festival. So, overall, I considered myself to be in fairly good shape. Today, I had a regular check-up with my physician & she discovered I now have a heart murmur. It later occurred to me that I forgot to mention that I take ibuprofen on an almost daily basis for joint pain. Since I have never been told I have a heart murmur, I can only conclude my long-term use of ibuprofen may have contributed to this condition.

  19. Anne

    I was put on naproxen twice a day for tension headaches. I started getting PVC’s & fluttering after 3 weeks which I have all day everyday. I’m only 32 & discontinued that medication when the heart thing started about a month ago. I was very healthy & no prior health problems. Is their a way to stop the heart problem from continuing? Does it go away on it’s own?

    • Vic

      I hope so, I quite Aleve about 3 weeks ago and my Palpitations are all but gone. Maybe 1 or 2 a day now. They have dropped in frequency since I stopped taking the Aleve,

  20. sd

    I was diagnosed with afib by wearing a monitor three months ago. I take Toprol xl 25 generic twice daily and I also take Coumadin. I had taken goody powders for years until my stomach would not take them anymore. I started taken tylenol otc but the most I have ever taken is 4 a day. Someone told me that Tylenol could cause heart flutter. Is that the same as the afib?

  21. WRA

    I can confirm that NSAID’s cause my A-fib. I had bouts with A-fib for several years that got progressively worse. My cardiologist carried out a cardioversion about three years ago and the A-Fib completely went away. But about 6 months ago I strained my back working at my parents house. My mom gave me a COX2 drug and I also took some ibuprofen that night. My A-fib came back the next day and lasted for a couple of days. I suspected a causal relationship and asked my doctor but he didn’t think it was necessarily connected.
    Then last week I tore my Achilles tendon while traveling overseas. They gave me some diclofenac rub to help with the pain and it really seemed to work. I didn’t realize that diclofenac is also a COX2 drug. After using it a couple of days, my A-fib came back again and is now very persistent. After a week, I still have it and now have to go back to the cardiologist. I’m guessing another cardioversion may be in order.
    I would like to thank the drug makers for all of the extra money I’m going to have to spend to get my heart back in rhythm. And who knows how many years these drugs have taken off of my life. I would think they would do a better job of warning their customers about this very serious side effect, especially those with a history of A-fib.

  22. Michelle J.

    I’ve been taking high-doses of ibuprofen for over 2 years now and in the last few months I’ve had very uncomfortable heart palpitations. I’m going to print out this article and take it with me to my doctor’s visit this week.

  23. jrc

    I just had AF diagnosed during screening for a vitrectomy and was incredibly surprised because I am very low on risk factors other than maybe age (I’m 63). I was suspicious in that my previous PCP used regular ECGs as part of her physicals and there had never been an indication in the past. I’m a non-smoking vegetarian with normal range BP; excellent LDL and HDL numbers; no other serious medical conditions and am only slightly overweight.
    I have, however recently been taking meloxicam on a daily basis to help with a tendon inflammation in my foot. The doctor had also put me on a course of Medrol and later a steroid injection when I resumed the meloxicam. I will certainly discuss this with the cardiologist when I see him this week.
    Thank you for the informative article.

  24. LH

    Ian, I had atrial fibrillation for many years and coumadin was what was prescribed for me – I hated every moment of use. Then I came across an article about nattokinase and started taking it with the coumadin and then dropped the coumadin about seven years ago – my atrial fibrillation is gone, the clots I had in my left leg disappeared and I am a happy camper.
    Just for the record, I am 89 years old, have CHF and was given 5 months to live without heart surgery and 4 years with surgery. I declined surgery, went for chelation therapy and am here to disprove the theory that surgery is always the answer – read up on nattokinase – it might help you too. Good luck.

    • Shirley
      Tyler Tx

      Thank you for your post about nattokinase. Does it work in place of aspirin or other blood thinners, or replace Metoprolol? My AFib is happening more frequently and stopping them with a quarter of a 25mg tab of Metoprolol is not working anymore. I’ve used Metoprolol as a “pill-in-the-pocket until now. I am concerned it is getting worse. In fact yesterday I had to take the whole tab. My cardiologist has me on Ubiquinol 100mg twice a day, and Vit D3 5,000 iu per day and that is all he suggested. I’ve been using Dr Ray Peat’s aspirin with Vit k2 therapy for joint pain along with other supplements for the heart. I’m wondering if the vit therapy is increasing the irratic beats with skips, plus very quiet like lazy beats overall. I don’t want to take Metoprolol or any medicine. I am heading to the health food store for nattokinase in the morning. I am 81, normal weight. Thanks again.

  25. Ian

    Ironic that you should mention Boswellia. This herb, also known as Frankinsense, can cause immediate and severe episodes of Atrial Fibrillation (irregular and rapid heart beat). I know that from experience because I tried it.
    I am looking for a healthy alternative to Metoprolol which am taking for my AF. If anyone out there knows of one, let me know.

    • Larry M
      Raleigh, NC

      Alternative to Metoprolol for A-fib? Sure! Get a Circumferential Pulmonary Vein Ablation (CPVA). Yeah, it’s a day in the hospital and three in bed at home, but then you’re done. No more blood thinners, no more beta blockers, nothing but (my choice) 81 mg aspirin each day. I had paroxysmal A-fib from 2007-2012 when the CPVA was performed. Since then I’ve been mountain hiking, cycling, rock climbing, white-water rafting, and other strenuous activities. I’m 70 now and I’ve never regretted getting the CPVA.

  26. lem

    what is boswellia? How is it taken?

  27. jq

    You mentioned boswellia . . I can attest to it working. I had terrible hip/joint pain which made it difficult to do stairs, sleep, even walk sometimes. I started on boswellia serrata and within two weeks I was VASTLY improved. I can now sleep – and lay on my hips to do so, have much more movement and even stairs do not make me hurt. It was a miracle for me.

  28. PP

    In the late ’90’s I took some Aleve; one or two only and found I didn’t tolerate them well, so have never taken them again. A few months later I started having A-fib attacks that got progressively worse. Finally in 2003 had an electro-physical ablation that ended the problem. I wonder if that occasional use is what triggered the A-fib?

  29. ck

    I am not surprised but happy to confirm that my decision to stop taking Meloxicam -after 4 or 5 years of taking one daily pill -was the right one. In addition to reducing the side effects mentioned in the article my heartburn is gone and I feel so much better!

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