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In July 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strengthens its existing warning label that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause heart attacks or strokes. In 2005, they put the first warning label of increased risk but after reviewing new evidence (references requested from the FDA on August 25, 2015) they have revised the warning to reflect the following information:

  • The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
  • The risk appears greater at higher doses.
  • It was previously thought that all NSAIDs may have a similar risk. Newer information makes it less clear that the risk for heart attack or stroke is similar for all NSAIDs; however, this newer information is not sufficient for us to determine that the risk of any particular NSAID is definitely higher or lower than that of any other particular NSAID.
  • NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. A large number of studies support this finding, with varying estimates of how much the risk is increased, depending on the drugs and the doses studied.
  • In general, patients with heart disease or risk factors for it have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following NSAID use than patients without these risk factors because they have a higher risk at baseline.
  • Patients treated with NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to patients who were not treated with NSAIDs after their first heart attack.
  • There is an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use. [accessed August 25, 2015 http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/drugsafety/ucm451800.htm]

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) includes medications like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Salicylic Acid (Aspirin) are the most widely used type of medicine in the world. Nearly a third of all adult Americans take these medicines on a daily basis and almost half consume over the recommended dosage.