People with a preexisting heart condition should avoid NSAID use, according to new data.

Researchers from Australia have noted that, in a case controlled study, patients admitted with heart failure were twice as likely as controls to have taken NSAIDs in the week before admission. This risk is increased in those who have a history of heart disease.

The higher the dose of NSAIDs, the higher and the greater the association with heart failure, say the researchers. They estimate that NSAID use could account for up to one fifth of hospital admissions for heart failure (Arch Intern Med, 2000; 160: 777-84).

NSAID use may also be associated with an increased incidence of asthma.

A recent observational study found an association between paracetamol consumption and asthma in adults. The researchers stress that the results are preliminary and may be explained by a number of other possibilities. For example, asthma sufferers may take more paracetamol because their condition gives them more headaches or it could be that people with asthma take paracetamol in preference to other NSAIDs or to aspirin.

Nevertheless, they advise that people with asthma who are heavy users of paracetamol should try to cut down (Pharmaceut J, 2000; 264: 459).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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