Naproxen Safest Choice for Pain
The over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug, naproxen, is somewhat safer than other common alternatives. That’s according to the results of a massive new study, published late last month in the highly respected journal, the Lancet. The results appear to show that if you’ve got to take an anti-inflammatory for relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritis, for example, naproxen may be the less likely to cause stomach upset, or increase the chances that you’ll suffer negative cardiovascular effects.
The study considered data from hundreds of clinical trials, which included hundreds of thousands of patients who took various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and prescription COX-2 inhibitors (such as Celebrex®). NSAIDs sometimes cause stomach upset, or even bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, so they are not ideal for all patients. Although the COX-2 class of drugs was originally touted as easier on the stomach, the impact of these drugs on cardiovascular health has come into question in recent years. The study looked at the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of various antiinflammatories, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and Celebrex®.
The COX-2 inhibitors boosted the risk of “major vascular events” (for example, non-fatal heart attack and stroke) by about one-third. Ibuprofen was also associated with an increase in major coronary events. “...High-dose naproxen is associated with less vascular risk than other NSAIDs," said Dr. Charles H. Hennekens. “...The available data suggest that for relief of pain of inflammatory arthritis, naproxen may have the best benefit-to-risk ratio on cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
Coxib and traditional NSAID Trialists' (CNT) Collaboration. Vascular and upper gastrointestinal effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: meta-analyses of individual participant data from randomised trials. The Lancet, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60900-9