Researchers found that the use of these drugs – also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – was also associated with a lower risk of death although they are not sure why.
Their findings were based on a study which looked at a nationwide hospital admission and pharmacy prescription database of 320,000 Australian veterans.
Researchers looked at anti-inflammatory drugs that - with the exception of ibuprofen - generally require a prescription.
Professor Arduino Mangoni, who recently joined the University of Aberdeen from Flinders University in Adelaide, said: “Heart disease represents one of the main causes of death and long-term disability in the elderly population and the burden of heart disease is likely to increase in the future due to the progressive ageing of the population.
Thinking up until now suggests that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, for the management of pain and inflammation in a number of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system, increases the risk of heart disease. Concerns over the potential risk associated with the use of NSAIDs have been expressed in a recent statement by the American Heart Association.
However, the evidence of a link between NSAIDs and heart disease is controversial as several studies have failed to demonstrate a significant increase in the risk.
In fact our study has demonstrated that the use of NSAIDs has overall a neutral effect on the risk of heart disease in a large elderly population with multiple co-existing medical conditions.We also noted that the use of NSAIDs was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality and there was a clear association with the number of prescriptions supplied in that the higher the number of prescriptions for NSAIDs the lower the risk of death,” explained Mangoni. He believes the link between NSAIDs and mortality could be due to a number of factors.
Despite the findings Mangoni would not advise people to take painkillers regularly unless they are necessary.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Aberdeen