New research undertaken at University of California, Davis, provides insight into why nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are linked to higher risk for heart disease and stroke. The team conducted experiments on rats and mice and found that NSAIDs produce a number of deleterious effects on cardiac cells, including a reduction in their ability to produce energy, generation of a stress-inducing reactive oxygen species, and interference with the production of proteasome, leading to toxic buildup and eventual cell death. Study author Aldrin Gomes, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, commented, “We knew these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories had negative side effects for heart disease and stroke risk. But now we have an idea of some of the mechanisms behind it.” The findings are published online in Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology.
In the current study, researchers compared the effects of naproxen, considered to be the safest available NSAID to meclofenamate sodium, a more potent prescription alternative. Across the range of adverse effects, the prescription medication was found to exact a higher toll on heart health. The team additionally noted an escalation of adverse effects with prolonged administration of NSAIDs. The study results additionally suggest that taking vitamin C, an antioxidant, before taking an NSAID may forestall cardiac cell death with no diminution in pain-relieving ability.
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The journal abstract may be read here.