The People's Perspective on Medicine

Really Bad News About Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Other NSAIDs

People in pain do not want to hear bad news about ibuprofen or other NSAIDs. But we cannot ignore the new data. These drugs up the risk for heart attacks.
Aortic aneurysm

People who are hurting are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Whether they’re suffering from a bad back or arthritis, there aren’t many medications that are effective. Now more bad news about ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib (Celebrex), meloxicam and other NSAIDs has millions worried. That’s because a new study confirms an increased risk for heart attacks.

NSAIDs and Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack):

The evidence has been building for years that NSAIDs are bad for the cardiovascular system. Epidemiological studies have suggested that such drugs increase the risk for heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure and death. Here is a link to an article we wrote several years ago documenting these problems.

Despite prior research many health professionals and patients were reluctant to accept the bad news about ibuprofen, celecoxib, diclofenac, meloxicam, naproxen or other NSAIDs. There have been concerns about the quality of the studies. Some experts characterized the data as “imprecise” or “inconclusive.”

Now, Canadian and European researchers have just published an important article in the BMJ (May 9, 2017). The results reaffirm the risks of NSAIDs.

What They Did:

After reviewing 82 studies for inclusion in this meta-analysis they settled on eight that met their high standards. Over 400,000 subjects were part of this analysis. There were over 61,000 heart attacks in this group. Before we translate what they found we want you to read their words for yourself:

“Through its inclusion and exclusion criteria and the definition of exposures, this meta-analysis of individual patient data (IPD) aimed to emulate the design of a large, pragmatic randomised trial comparing the main non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used in the general population. By studying 61,460 myocardial infarction [heart attack] events in real world use of NSAIDs, we found that current use of a NSAID is associated with a significantly increased risk of acute myocardial infarction. This was observed for all traditional NSAIDs, including naproxen.”

Interpreting the Bad News About Ibuprofen & Other NSAIDS:

So, how bad was it? The researchers noted that “NSAIDs exhibited a rapid onset of risk for myocardial infarction in the first week of use.”

That challenges the thinking of many people who assumed that it would take months of daily use to trigger this effect. Doses of ibuprofen greater than 1200 mg per day demonstrated the risk between eight and 30 days. That is higher than the standard daily dose recommended on the label of drugs like Advil or Motrin IB. The directions for Advil Tablets read:

  • “adults and children 12 years and over: take 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours while symptoms persist
  • “If pain or fever does not respond to 1 tablet, 2 tablets may be used.
  • “Do not exceed 6 tablets [1200 mg] in 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor.”

If someone were to take the maximal OTC ibuprofen dose he would be approaching the “high dose” considered a risk by the researchers. Many doctors prescribe substantially higher doses for people who have suffered an injury or are complaining about chronic pain.

Bad News About Ibuprofen Not Isolated:

The authors note that NSAIDs as a class appear to have negative cardiovascular consequences. (The exception is aspirin, which may reduce the risk for heart attacks.) The higher the dose the greater the danger.

The Risk in Relative Terms:

Here is what was uncovered in terms of relative risk for people who took different NSAIDs for a week or less:

  • Ibuprofen: a 48% increased risk of heart attack
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren): a 50% increased risk of heart attack
  • Naproxen (Aleve, diclofenac): a 53% increased risk of heart attack
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex): 24%

Absolute Risk vs. Relative Risk:

In fairness, it is important to note that relative risk is almost always a scary number. A 50% increase in the risk of heart attack seems huge. And yet the absolute risk of suffering a heart attack is actually quite small. That’s because relatively few people will experience a heart attack in the first place.

We understand the the distinction between absolute risk or absolute benefit can be confusing. The pharmaceutical industry has learned how to take advantage of this complexity. For example, the maker of Lipitor (atorvastatin) used to state that this cholesterol-lowering drug was valuable:

“In patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease, LIPITOR REDUCES RISK OF HEART ATTACK BY 36%*…”

That seems like an impressive number. Some people might assume that more than a third of patients on Lipitor could avoid a heart attack. But the asterisk in the ads told something quite different:

“That means in a large clinical study, 3 percent of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2 percent of patients taking Lipitor.”

So there was roughly one fewer heart attack out of 100 people taking Lipitor. And yes, that was a 36% relative risk reduction.

The same thing is true about the absolute risk of experiencing a heart attack on ibuprofen or related NSAIDs. Even a 50% increased risk is still a relatively small absolute increased risk. Nevertheless, we do think this is a serious cardiovascular complication of NSAIDs.

Here is what the BMJ authors concluded:

“This patient level meta-analysis of acute myocardial infarction associated with NSAIDs involving 61 460 cases in 446 763 individuals is the largest investigation of its type, and its real world origin helps ensure that findings are broadly generalisable.

“In summary, compared with non-use of NSAIDs in the preceding year, we documented that current use of all studied NSAIDs, including naproxen, was associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction…Given that the onset of risk of acute myocardial infarction occurred in the first week and appeared greatest in the first month of treatment with higher doses, prescribers should consider weighing the risks and benefits of NSAIDs before instituting treatment, particularly for higher doses.”

Other NSAID Side Effects:

  • Digestive tract upset, stomach pain, nausea, bleeding ulcers, perforated ulcers
  • Heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest
  • Irregular heart rhythms (A-fib)
  • Fluid retention, Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness, unsteadiness, spaciness
  • Kidney damage, liver damage,
  • Skin rash and other dermatological reactions
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Asthma, breathing problems, allergic reactions
  • Changes in vision

People Love NSAIDs:

People in pain want relief, even if NSAIDs are not all that great at providing it. There just aren’t very many other options. Scary headlines about the opioid epidemic have scared physicians and patients away from such drugs, even when they may be helpful in situations of severe pain.

Here are some stories from readers to demonstrate the quandary:

Hephzivah in Nottinghamshire:

“My brother took diclofenac for 6 months. Previously he had a full check up including kidneys, which were fine. His doctor prescribed the drug with no advice. There was no warning relating to to kidneys on paperwork which came with it. After 6 months use his kidney function had reduced to 25%.”

Anonymous in California points out:

“I would like to see the risks expressed in a different way. For example, if my risk of dying of cardiac arrest is one in 100 if I don’t take ibuprofen But instead live with daily pain, and it goes up to two in 100 if I do take ibuprofen, then I will probably take ibuprofen to be pain free.”

Kate offers an interesting comment on OTC drugs:

“This is alarming to me because I, as many others do, assume that if it is sold OTC it must be harmless and while not waiting to take an Aleve for everything, took it fairly frequently for a headache, muscle ache or just having trouble sleeping.

“I had a medium stroke in November; the neurologists cannot find a definitive reason, after many tests. My eating is healthy, I exercise fairly regularly, blood pressure is very good, moderation in things… the scary part is that I don’t know how to prevent another one.
After reading this, I am wondering if the use an NSAID might have been a cause? I personally will stop taking it; the risk is too great.”

Alternatives for Arthritis:

People with arthritis must live with chronic pain. It rarely disappears in a week or two. Most patients will have to cope for the rest of their lives. Finding alternatives to NSAIDs can sometimes make a big difference in the quality of life.

We have written in depth about topical NSAIDs, home remedies like tart cherries, Knox Gelatin, pineapple, Certo and grape juice, and herbs such as Ashwagandha, boswelia, turmeric, ginger and stinging nettle. There is also acupuncture. To learn more, here is a link to this online resource in our store.

Share your own experience with NSAIDs below in the comment section. Have you found alternatives to NSAIDs that ease inflammation or pain? Share your story with others and please vote on the article at the top of the page if you found any of this information helpful.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I think this is really scare tactics beyond the rational. I agree with one writer who commented about the true numbers…if your risk jumps from 1 in 100 to 2 in 100 who cares? And it is an increase that is not significant or even probably real. I’m late seventies and take 100 mg of motrin maybe every other day. It allows me to walk, play golf, garden, etc. Without it I can barely move. It’s tv and the computer. I’d rather die with my boots on, hitting a long 5 iron down a beautiful fairway than sitting inside worried about exaggerated health threats.

I have taken ibuprofen for over 12 years since my stroke. I take about 1600mgs/day. I have not had any significant medical problems from this drug. My prescription is through the V.A. with no copay, which allows me to continue taking this drug. I would warn others to be aware of your body for the first 30 days after beginning the drug to ensure you do not have any side effects.

Everytime we turn to medicine, we must assess risk. Is the risk to the length of our lives lower if we do not take the drug, or is the risk lower if we do take the drug? When pain is severe, assessing risk is very difficult, if not impossible.

I take nsaids to manage pain. Is this pain I can live with, or will the influence of the pain in my life be too great to endure, so the risk of taking the drug appears to be less? I often feel without the tools to properly assess this. I have had doctors recommend daily doses of nsaids and had doctors throwing anti reflux drugs at me in fear of the outcomes of such recommendations. Our doctors need to know more to help us with finding products with lower risk outcomes.

I sense that our pharmaceutical companies have not tested the products sufficiently, just like all of these wild alternative products that are being discussed. Anecdotes do not make for reliable information. Doctors rely on pharmaceutical companies for information. What is forthcoming?

Can the risks of taking these drugs be addressed and decreased by the pharmaceutical companies? Will they communicate about the impacts of their products like cigarette companies have had to?

It appears to me that research needs to happen quickly to determine if there is an element in nsaids that can be isolated to help with pain, but separated from elements within the current drug formulations that produce high risk side effects.

We are poorly served if we do not expect more from pharmaceutical companies. Produce products that address our pain needs without subjecting us to shorter life expectancies, or high risk complications, or be forced to stop producing such drugs. Provide specific information to doctors and consumers regarding the degree of risk involved in taking the products you produce, or be forced to stop producing such drugs.
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End of story.

When I read this article I stopped my naproxen, 500mg twice a day for osteoarthritis. The great news is that my pain did not return. Now I know that that doesn’t heal itself, so I must be getting relief from one or more of the following, which I take very day:

alpha lipoic acid, boswellia and curcumin, turmeric, ashwaganda, benfotiamine, B6, B12, optimized folate, sour cherry concentrate (only occasionally), magnesium, metformin, K2, D3, fish oil

This is the very first absolute proof of effectiveness that I have had for any of my meds.

I’ve been taking a teaspoon of gin-soaked raisins followed by about 6 oz of tart cherry juice every evening (3 tablespoons of concentrate from Vitacost in water). Night-time hip pain was diminished with the raisins and completely vanquished with the addition of the tart cherry juice. Thank you Peoples’ Pharmacy, I’m extremely grateful.

Where do we find I tried “homeopathy – homeopathic ruta and rhus tox”?

I think the information that these drugs are dangerous is or should be fairly common knowledge.
Marijuana salve is the number one pain reliever, use the CBD kinds that don’t result in feeling “high” I have many achy places and severe disk problems in my back, the salve makes my down time pain free.
I can’t dig ditches anymore without pain but when I am done working the salve lets me relax and enjoy life.
And I do think morphine and those other opiod drugs were used for thousands of years by millions of people with an unfortunate few who became so enamored of the feelings that they became addicted.
That some people become mentally addicted is unfortunate but the health benefits and lack of dangerous side effects, or no more dangerous than refined sugar, tobacco, alcohol or other common addictive substances, makes the legalization of all pain relievers something that should be discussed at the highest levels.
A new study from the public insurance agencies, Medicare/medicaide, show a 16% reduction in prescription drug costs for pain management and anxiety management in those States that have allowed medical marijuana! Sixteen percent, that’s a LOT of money.
I do suggest that anyone taking opiod currently request plain oxycodone so that you can take what you want. I take aspirin during the day and something like naprosyn at night because it will last through the night.
I rarely take opiod any longer because they aren’t as effective as the Mary Jane salve. The Mary Jane products are always the same some other manufacturers are inconsistent with potency and effect.
I have suffered with pain from rhuematoid arthritis, frlibromyalgia, diverticulitis and endometriosis my entire life. It has affected my abilities to not only hold down a job but also my abilities to care for my home, my pets and my loved ones.
I know of what I speak.
Michele R
Florence, CO

Medical marijuana eaten, inhaled and applied external as a salve is effective for pain relief. For some people even federally legal industrial hemp CBD’s reduce inflammatory pain will no THC and no known side effects.
Fear of the unknown, unexamined faith in authority, and pharmaceutical corporate greed harm millions each day.

Rimadyl and similar NSAIDS have been killing our dogs for 20 years. Not nearly enough has been done to warn dog owners about this carnage.

I found a solution for elimination of my pain. But first, here is a little background. Diagnosed with degenerative spine disease, fibromyalgia and multiple food intolerances, I was advised to take Aleve, Advil or ibuprofen, which I used feely for 20 years.

Then my heat murmur grew into a chronic infection in the lining of my heart along with congestive heart failure, all due to these meds, according to my heart specialist. Then I was put on Tramadol, which I still take in limited amounts. This morning I awoke with very little pain, no pills needed. Its the second time this week. I have not had pain free mornings in 10 years.

After years of research I developed the following recipe. I have used as breakfast for the past month and not only have less pain but lost weight, feel full and have energy. The other tip is totally avoid inflammatory foods: starch, dairy, red meats, carbs. Now here’s is my recipe:
BRENDA’S BULLET PROOF BONE BROTH
16 Oz bone broth heated to near boiling. Add a squeezed half lemon, 1 very large tablespoon grassfed (must) Ghee, 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, squeeze of Bragg’s Amino Acids (to taste), and seasonings of choice. I use Fiesta Bolner’s Complete. You may also add lettuce (wilted is fine), onion or chives, thinly sliced or diced crookneck or zuchinni squash. If you have fatigue problems, add powdered Rhodiola with 1% salidrocides, 1/8 tsp.

I find these studies quite discouraging !! I have arthritis and spinal stenosis, which result in frequent headaches. I drink sour cherry juice every day and take turmeric every day. I have had good results with acupuncture, but it is really not practical to have an acupuncture treatment every day! It seems that those of us with chronic pain are just stuck–the pain is a problem, NSAID’s are bad for my heart, and Tylenol is less effective AND it is bad for my liver. . . .

I have scoliosis, spinal stenosis, rotator cuff pain, hiatal hernia acid reflux and I’m a breast cancer survivor. Gastroenterologist prescribed pantoprazole then Dexilant but I couldn’t tolerate them. After your ‘leaky gut’ program I began taking an over the counter probiotic w prebiotic and it seems to be helping acid problem.

For pain, I go to chiropractor and on a bad day I take 3 Tylenol in 24 hrs. Because Tylenol doesn’t harm stomach. Is this true and will Tylenol cause heart and stroke issues? Thank you,

As far as the leaky gut, I can highly recommend going to culturedfoodlife.com and learn about the absolute best form of probiotics in the world. When my wife started taking 10 oz of kefir daily she was completely cured of IBS within the first week and it has not returned.

But what about low doses? I have found 1 Ibuprofen tablet (200 mg) helps my enlarged prostate or bladder issues at night and I can sleep longer w/o interruption. Is this still harmful?

Well, as usual, what we are told to take for decades, is now warned it will kill us. The one problem is if so many people are being killed why haven’t they taken ALL of these pills off the market???????? There can only be 2 answers. One is they don’t know what they are talking about, or two there is to much money being made in the sale of these products, and they don’t really care what happens to us, or they WOULD take them off the market. If you have a better answer, be my guest!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Torrence,

Great questions. Several years ago I asked a very high executive at the FDA why they had not discovered the Vioxx connection to heart attacks. In a moment of surprising candor he stated that heart attacks were so common that the FDA was unable to detect a connection to Vioxx. In other words, common side effects that were not discovered during the clinical trials are very hard to detect once a drug is on the market. No one thinks to ask the question or even look for a connection.

Once a signal was detected and researchers started looking, they discovered that the connection did indeed appear real. The more studies they did, the firmer the relationship was between Vioxx (rofecoxib) and cardiovascular complications.

He admitted that rare or unusual side effects are much easier to detect. If a patient develops kidney failure (a relatively rare event) within several months of taking high-dose NSAIDs, doctors are more likely to report that to the FDA. If someone has a heart attack (a relatively common event), it just seems like bad luck or bad genes and it doesn’t get reported.

I hope that answers your question.

Joe

The studies in 1970 to 1990 did not show Americans clotting – even the early Vioxx studies, despite the obvious Cox 2 mechanism, did not show heart attacks etc. Later years into the insulin resistance/inflammation/obesity years the clots were numerous especially in people with another clot risk like smoking, pregnancy and delivery, surgery. Whether BPA or frankenfats, both introduced in 1985 by our dear Ronnie’s personal decisions, caused the metabolic changes will eventually be studied but probably not in the US.

What patients with arthritis, degenerative spine disease etc need is to keep going without opiates. Let’s have some time for NSAID vs Aspirin vs Tylenol vs herbs vs nutriceuticals – I use Aspirin or I can’t function but each approach has a failure rate and side effects which patients need to hear about. Thanks for your consideration.

I’m in my sixties and and had increasing neck, back, hip and leg pain and stiffness. Pain affected my sleep, could hardly walk even with a walking stick, and couldn’t sit or stand for very long because of pain. I cannot tolerate NSAIDS and I refused to take cortisone because of my bones. I tried homeopathy – homeopathic ruta and rhus tox – and I am totally pain free and no stiffness – it’s been three months now and it looks like my miraculous recovery is permanent. My body feels twenty years younger. I urge others to try homeopathy.

I hear ads on the radio for Relief Factor for joint pain. Expensive. Supposedly all natural. Any truth that it works?

According to the June issue of Consumer Reports OTC pain relievers are far safer then opioids or surgery for severe back pain.

I find this report so galling: After taking these drugs for 30 some years, with the assurance that they were basically safe, we now have research showing otherwise – shockingly otherwise.
Why weren’t these kind of studies instituted earlier? And why haven’t pharmaceutical companies, awash in profits that they insist are for R & D, done so little investigation before dumping these products on consumers who have taken them for so long?
Perhaps they were too busy pushing their more profitable alternative, opiates, onto physicians with more false claims about safety. The bottom line is there seems to be nothing safe to take for pain…at least nothing that the drug companies can profit from.

My only thought is ASPIRIN. It’s CHEAP, and if you take Bufferin (TM) or just lots of water you should avoid stomach problems. Learn where we got aspirin from, and you may understand why it continues to be so popular.

I sometimes take some acetaminophen, but feel there are risks with it as well especially for the liver.

And something you may not know is that if you give acetaminophen to a cat, it will probably kill it. We are not cats, but we are both mammals and that information should stay in the back of your mind when taking acetaminophen. I try to cure my headache with just a half tablet before I take the second half and it often works pretty good.

My 89 yr old mom-in-law was rushed to the hospital She took ibuprofen and lost 3 pints of blood. My mom took ibuprofen and lost 4 pints of blood .

My friend lost his eyesight because of ibuprofen.

How long after you stop taking NSAIDs do the described risks last? For example, if you took the maximum recommended dose for a week 20 years ago (and have taken few/no doses since) do you still have an increased risk of heart problems?

About 15 maybe 20 years ago I was taking Aleve for pain related to too much to do and not enough time to get it done. I began to get blister like sores on my hands, sores in my mouth and target shaped lesions on my arms and legs. I thought about ignoring it as it didn’t hurt. But, decided to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with a lesser form of Stephen Johnson Syndrome related to, or so the doctor(s) said, the use of NSAIDs (Aleve). They said, “If you get a fever in the next week you need to rush yourself to the hospital. If this becomes a full blown case of Stephen Johnson Syndrome it is highly likely to be fatal.” Now when I have pain I cowboy up and take the pain. If it gets really, really bad my wife will shove a Tylenol in my hand. No NSAIDs for me.

Tai chi has helped relieve my pain. I follow Dr. Paul Lam’s program.

Knee replacement surgery is generally known to be followed by miserable pain that is often even worse at night, meaning quality of sleep is very poor. Narcotics work but must be taken very regularly, in addition to NSAIDS. Five weeks after a second knee replacement, I began using cannibis at night, both an edible and a topical. The 5mg. Cannibis taken at bedtime and the topical balm ended my need for narcotics and I have stopped all NSAIDs. I use Tylenol, Ex. Strength, 1 capsule every 5 hrs. Do not know all the effects of cannibis, but after beginning using it only at night, my ability to walk downstairs without pain was a hugh surprise. Also I’m back using an elliptical machine. No pain and none even hours later when I’d expect it might be likely. I’m sleeping well at night and feel rested in the morning. This is my first experience with cannibis and I’m so grateful to be in a “blue” state where it’s legal. Thank you Peoples’ Pharmacy for information on NSAIDs.

What about those of us who only take one now and then if we have a severe headache. I take one maybe every six months. I do not take any on a regular basis.

agree with “anonymous” from CA. At the age of 75 and recovering from a thalamic stroke,(still gardening) I am getting annoyed with the puritans in the medical field and government who look down on you if you want them to help relieve the pain, not extend your life two more years!!

I have had degenerative back pain for 35+ years.
I have been using oxycodone, Excedrin (aspirin+tylenol) and Lidocaine patches.
All work to some degree, but For 2 months I have been taking Devil’Claw.
125 mg /day (standardized to minimum 40% harpagosides) and it is WORKING!
It does take 1-2 months to “kick-in”, but the results have been fantastic!

How about CBD/Cannabinoids! It works
!

Arnica! Arnica! Arnica! For aches and pains, bruises, and especially arthritis. It’s magic.

I have survived cancer six times so a heart attack doesn’t sound that bad to me, unless of course someone has found a way to live forever. I’ll continue to take Ibuprofen.

Had been taking Ibuprophen, Naproxen Sodium, Acetaminophen etc. for arthritis pain for many years – with questionable results. After having a pacemaker put in for AV Block (had SVT for years) am taking both an ACE Inhibitor and a Beta Blocker; both of these do not recommend NSAIDS so I stopped taking all. Do take Acetaminophen for pain sometimes. When I heard that Turmeric might help relieve pain of arthritis I began taking only 500 mg per day for a few months to try it. Had a very bad rash develop under my large breasts and under my head sweat band. Unfortunately discovered the Turmeric was the agent I must be allergic to. ??? I’m now just living with arthritis pain and surviving…

What about acetamenaphen. It is not a NSAIDS, right?

I decided to quit taking any NSAIDs and also Tylenol last Fall. For headaches I found that a beet root supplement, along with L-Arginine, took care of those and lowered my blood pressure. I recently read about Black Seed Oil for joints. I massage it into my knees, shoulders, and elbows morning and evening. It really seems to have helped a great deal.

I have used every natural alternative out there for my RA pain.
I used them for over two years.
None of them have helped enough for me to be able to function.
It does not relieve my pain.

I have taken ibuprofen for more than 45 years, originally due to severe menstrual cramping. I take 800 mg twice a day — not often, but as needed — for a severely degenerating back. I find I’ve built up a tolerance for diclofenac and gabapentin. I’m intolerant of Tylenol and Codeine. I have tried Certo and grape juice, Turmeric, and Ashwagandha — I wished they worked, but they have NO effect of any kind. Acupuncture creates new pain sites. No help with hypnosis. I’m stretching and exercising more, but have seen NO positive results in over a month. What’s a body to do?

I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons of any medication that you take. As for me, I don’t take a lot of ibuprofen, but I don’t like being in pain every day.

That’s why we are looking into cannabis products as an alternative to some of the medications that seem to pose sizable risks to our health. It has been an interesting and informative journey so far.

This is information is so helpful for me. I have had constant ringing in my ears (similar to crickets chirping) for the past 2 months. I have researched, considered changes in life style and work. I determined it must just be age.
A few months ago I started taking NSAID’s almost daily for 6 weeks due to extreme tooth pain. I never took more than the max dosage.
After reading this article I am almost sure my tinnitus is a result of taking the NSAID. I just hope this is temporary.

I cannot take NSAIDS because within 2 or 3 days, my BP goes sky high. I am 75 years old, so I know my kidney function is quite reduced. So when things get really bad, I take 1 Aleve and I get relief. HOWEVER, I have been taking ginger for years (can’t take tumeric b/c of stomach upset and it was the best). About a month ago I started taking some good probiotics. I realized that I no longer needed the Aleve!!! Apparently the probiotics are making my gut healthy and I am absorbing more ginger. At least that’s my way of thinking.

When I read about these studies, the first question that comes to mind is – “How many would have had a heart attack had they not been taking NSAIDS?” Or rather – “Wouldn’t some of these people have had a heart attack based on life style, body weight or genetics?” How do the researchers know the only reason these people had a heart attack was their use of NSAIDS? I find most of these studies raise more questions than provide answers.

The common classic use of low dose aspirin for medical use in cardiac patients was not mentioned.
Is this low dose save?

Why not use buffered aspirin?

I am 60 years old. I take Aleve only as needed; I am not on any prescription medications. I have had a right hip replacement, and have a badly swollen left knee due to an old injury and previous surgery. My job can be physically demanding, and very long hours. There is a history of heart attacks in my family; however my heart rate and blood pressure are very good. I would gladly take Celebrex instead, however, it is a prescribed medication. I will take my chances…

If this report is true, it would make national headlines. When I showed it to my doctor, he said the people interpreting medical reports on People’s Pharmacy are not doctors and are trying to sell something. And sure enough, at the end of this article is a book for sale about arthritis pain alternatives.

Every single person in the world takes NSAIDS at one time or another in different quantities depending on their pain. The FDA would pull them all off the OTC shelves if they killed in such large quantities. You’d have to sign for them like narcotics. If PP had their way, there would be NO OTC drugs because all of them have been under attack. These are scare tactics that hurt sick and desperate people.

Ibuprofen is the only thing that works for me — the other stuff I cannot tolerate. I don’t take much though. If I take it at all, about 400 mg ibuprofen a day is enough. Sometimes 200 mg does the job. Or I’ll take 200 mg ibuprofen and 325 mg tylenol.

I take two acrtsmenaphin as needed for arthritis pain or one 325mg vicadin

My go-to remedy for pain (and I have a lot of pain everywhere) is Advil and Aspirin. I cannot even ‘walk’ if I don’t take my Advil. It used to be I would only need one liqui-gel but over the years I’ve graduated to 2 and at times even 3 liqui-gels. It works and as far as I know its not causing any digestive upsets or reactions.

I do have a Fatty Liver, as well as decreased Kidney function but so far I’m hanging in there. There is no alternative for me. Its either pain all day and night or Advil (or Aspirin).

I do have Diabetes ( many years now), a heart murmur, Osteoporosis and obesity. I really try to keep the doses to a minimum whenever possible. At bedtime usually one tablet will be sufficient. When I get up in the morning (late morning or afternoon) I usually try to refrain from taking it as long as possible, but if I have plans to go anywhere then I have to take two ….or I won’t be able to walk or move around without a lot of pain.

I’m conscious of what I take and how much. If its possible to do without the pain killers, I make an attempt to not take anything, however it may get to be too painful and not worth the suffering .

A far more scarier scenario was presented to me by my nephroligist, after my blood levels of creatinine (an indicator of kidney function) started to be mildly elevated (and further tests indicated I was in the early stages of kidney disease). Apparently, there is a lifetime limit to the total amount of all NSAIDS taken, after which kidney damage will occur. It is not a set number, but varies by individual, but a general number is known, which I unfortunately don’t remember.

I had been in health care 30 years and had never heard this before. Fortunately, it was caught early, and after stopping all NSAIDS and discontinuing Nexium (another drug I discovered might cause kidney disease) my creatinine and other biometrics returned to normal over several months. I also eliminated caffeine in my diet and was put on a different blood pressure medicine. (High blood pressure eventually can cause kidney damage also).

My blood pressure is doing better, in part due to those changes, and also because ibuprofen can cause fluid retention and higher blood pressure. The last thing I want is to be on dialysis or needing a kidney transplant. NSAIDS being OTC and widely used implies they are safe, and little is mentioned about long term adverse effects.

The total that can be safely taken is a number I exceeded, so I must avoid exposure to them. That includes aspirin also. I now use 8 hour acetaminophen (Tylenol), and it works surprisingly well. Anyone that has been taking NSAIDS chronically long term should raise questions with their doctor about this, as the consequences could be life altering and expensive. (By the way, my stomach reflux is improved by the elimination of ibuprofen also).

Anyone who has decreased kidney function should try drinking parsley tea daily. Somehow parsley has a rejuvenating effect on the kidneys. It doesn’t taste bad and you can mix it with other flavored teas. You can try in use fresh parsley in your salads and goes very well with most potato dishes.

This info brings me back to opioids. They seem to be safer than anything else for pain if used responsibly. I am sure people will scream at me. Just the facts please.

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