76% Greater Risk of Atrial Fibrillation With Use of NSAIDs

Follow-up to a 13-year study of NSAIDs use in people over the age of 68 showed a 76% greater risk of atrial fibrillation than in nonusers. Prescription NSAIDs use was studied, not over-the-counter. ECGs and medical records of current and recent users of prescription NSAIDs for the treatment of pain and inflammatory conditions were investigated.

Over 8,400 older adults were included in this Rotterdam, The Netherlands, study. The findings are in accord with others, such as the UK study of the General Practice Research Database and a population-based case-control Denmark study. Atrial fibrillation, or cardiac arrhythmia, can lead to stroke and heart failure. Because NSAIDs inhibit cyclo-oxygenase, they may increase fluid retention and therefore increase blood pressure. This new information supports the already suspected link between NSAIDs and possible AF. Other possible connections are being studied.

Read a news story about the research here.

Read complete BMJ Open article here.

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