Published on 01/07/2013
People with heart problems who take the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac have been warned by the Regulating Medicines and Medical Devices (MHRA) may be increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke.
Diclofenac is an anti-inflammatory drug used for pain relief
The medicine regulator MHRA confirmed that anyone with an underlying or previous heart condition should stop using the commonly-prescribed drug diclofenac. Following a European report there was evidence to suggest that there was an increased risk of heart attack and stroke by taking the druge.
Dr. Sarah Branch, Deputy Director of the MHRA’s Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines Division said: “For many patients diclofenac will continue to provide safe and effective pain relief but is no longer suitable for certain at risk groups.
“Those with underlying heart conditions currently taking diclofenac should speak to their GP or pharmacist at their next routine visit to consider an alternative pain relief treatment.”
Along with ibuprofen and naproxen, diclofenac is one of the most widely-used anti-inflammatory drugs in the UK.
There were an estimated six million prescriptions written for diclofenac last year and the drug is available to buy over the counter.
Diclofenac can be used to treat arthritis, headaches and back pain as well as other minor ailments. The MHRC have advised that smokers, people with high blood pressure and diabetics should consult a GP before using the drug.
“Patients with certain cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, diabetes and smoking should only use diclofenac after careful consideration with their GP or pharmacist,” Branch said.
If you are particularly concerned about heart disease, look for a health insurance policy that can give you comprehensive heart cover.
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