NSAIDs Linked to Increase in MI Risk

May 10, 2017

Study finds that all NSAIDs are associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction.

The use of commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) appears to be associated with a small increase in the risk of an acute myocardial infarction (MI).

Although the overall risk with their use is raised by 20% to 50% compared with not using them, the risk for an individual is raised by about 1% per year, according to the study, published in the May 9 issue of BMJ.

The study was a meta-analysis of four previous studies that included data from nearly 447,000 participants. Of these, about 61,500 had an acute MI.

The meta-analysis found that “[t]aking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction.” Higher doses of NSAIDs were associated with greater risk. The study found that the risk of an MI was greatest with higher doses in the first month of use and with daily doses of more than 1,200 mg of ibuprofen and more than 750 mg of naproxen. However, taking NSAIDs for more than a month did not raise risks higher than those seen with shorter durations.  

The NSAIDs in the study included ibuprofen, celecoxib, diclofenac, naproxen, and rofecoxib. The study did not look at the effects of daily doses of low-dose aspirin.

This meta-analysis is observational and shows an association between NSAIDs and increased risk of an MI, but does not prove that there is a connection.