Millions of Americans rely on popular pain relievers such as celecoxib, diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam, naproxen and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The fact that some of these medications are available without prescription in products such as Advil, Aleve or Motrin IB gives many of us the impression that they must be safe.
Balancing Benefit & Risk of Pain Relievers:
This summer the FDA beefed up its warning that NSAID use can increase the chance of suffering a heart attack or a stroke. The risk begins to increase within the first few weeks of use and continues to rise the longer someone takes such a drug. Higher doses also appear to be riskier.
These medicines are a mainstay of treatment for such painful conditions as arthritis, bursitis, gout, plantar fasciitis and tendinitis, not to mention back pain. What alternatives do people have to alleviate their pain?
SPRINT Study Stopped Early:
You may have heard the announcement that a large study designed to find out about the benefits of lowering blood pressure in middle-aged and older people was stopped two years before schedule. The scientists running the study found that getting systolic blood pressure below 120 offered so much benefit that it would be unethical to keep the study going. How much do we know about this study? Did the researchers take into account the side effects of multiple blood pressure medication?
We discuss the problems of balancing benefit & risk of medications for pain, the treatment of high blood pressure and the reason you shouldn’t feel bad about leaving your bed unmade. We answer your questions with pharmacologist and health journalist David Kroll.
This Week’s Guest:
David Kroll, PhD, is a pharmacologist and medical writer in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. He has taught at the University of Colorado, Duke University and North Carolina Central University. He now works on educating the public on matters pharmacological through his blogs. The picture is of Dr. Kroll.
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