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The latest diclofenac (Voltaren) study, led by David Henry of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, found diclofenac raises your risk of a heart attack or stroke by about 40 percent, compared to taking no NSAID. Since this study was a meta-analysis, it analysed the results of multiple studies, some of which showed disturbingly high rates of cardiovascular events.
In a 2012 study published in Circulation, NSAIDs were associated with a persistently increased risk of coronary events in patients with a previous myocardial infarction (heart attack). In more than 43,000 MI patients, NSAID use was associated with a 59 percent increased risk of death after one year and a 63 percent increased risk of death after five years of use. In addition, the use of the NSAIDs was associated with an increased risk of coronary death and recurrent MI.3 Henry remarked:
"Clearly thousands of people die as a result of using [diclofenac]. But these are invisible victims. And therefore, there's no advocacy lobby group on their behalf."
All Non Steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with significant side effects, including increased risk for heart attack and stroke. But how do they do this? The reason is that, along with inhibiting the "bad" prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain, they inhibit the "good" prostaglandins that dilate your blood vessels and increase blood flow.
So when those "good" prostaglandins are suppressed, the result is higher blood pressure and increased blood clotting. It was initially believed that your body's own nitric oxide would compensate for these effects, but recent studies have shown this is not the case.
The cardiovascular risk is greatest for people who already have cardiovascular disease, but even heart-healthy people are at substantial risk. If you're taking an NSAID and you have a history of heart disease, your risk for congestive heart failure (CHF) is increased 10-fold.