Sense of security may be false with tried and true anti-inflammatories

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For all the tender joints and headaches they relieve and colon cancer they may prevent, the older nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) raise another serious health risk.

The highly publicized danger of heart attacks and other cardiovascular side effects first discovered in randomized control trials of newer, selective NSAIDs are being found in the older agents, too.

A large prospective analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study found elevated cardiovascular risk for daily and high doses of ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as acetaminophen, but not aspirin. Occasional use of the drugs, however, did not seem to pose any extra risk, said Andrew Chan, Charles Fuchs, and their co-authors in the March 28, 2006 Circulation.