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Arthritis Drugs Raise Risk of Heart Rhythm Disturbance

NSAIDs like ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen and diclofenac increase the risk for atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart arrhythmia that increases the risk of strokes. Researchers have recently noted that A fib is also associated with a higher likelihood of developing dementia. The underlying triggers of atrial fibrillation have been somewhat mysterious. Heart attacks, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and defects in the heart or its valves may all contribute. Now researchers have found that people taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are at increased risk of developing A fib. These are drugs such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen and diclofenac. The investigators aren’t sure whether the drugs are causing the arrhythmia, or whether underlying inflammation causes both atrial fibrillation and pain that requires treatment.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, online, Sept. 13, 2010]

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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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