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Anti-inflammatory Drugs Linked to Low Levels of B Vitamin

People with arthritis frequently take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or Celebrex for pain relief. A new study suggests, however, that long-term use of such medications may have a negative effect on vitamin B6 status. This vitamin is involved in more than 100 essential biochemical reactions throughout the body. Low levels of this nutrient can cause nerve damage and have been associated with cardiovascular complications.

One NSAID, rofecoxib (Vioxx), was removed from the market because it increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. A possible explanation for such adverse reactions might be linked in part to drug-induced vitamin B6 depletion. Animal studies confirmed that Celebrex and naproxen both reduced vitamin B6 concentrations in the liver. The authors suggest that people taking such NSAIDS should have their vitamin B6 levels monitored.

[American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec. 2013]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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