When inflammation rages in your body, you may choose a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as COX-2 inhibitors (coxibs), ibuprofen or naproxen, to extinguish the pain.
You may have heard how risky almost all NSAIDs are, especially if you regularly take high doses: They can cause gastrointestinal woes and cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack.
The exception? We know aspirin offers protection from arterial diseases, including heart attack and stroke, as well as from nine types of cancer. But up to now, no one had figured out the unique risks and benefits of the other NSAIDs. So its great news that, thanks to three major metastudies, theres finally some credible info about those other NSAIDs differing qualities.
High-dose coxibs, diclofenac and ibuprofen may increase heart attack or stroke risk by about 33 percent. Heart failure risk is doubled with all non-aspirin NSAIDs. And a Food and Drug Administration panel evaluating NSAID risks voted 16 to 9 against the suggestion that naproxen causes fewer cardiovascular problems than other NSAIDs.
So, if youre taking a NSAID, talk to your doc about the risk versus reward of specific medications. We like the pain-relieving powers of meditation and cognitive therapy, weight loss and appropriate exercise (whether your pain is from arthritis or another condition), and taking 900 IU daily of anti-inflammatory DHA omega-3.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.