London, Feb. 14 (Reuters): Ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter painkiller, can reduce the effects of low-dose aspirin in preventing cardiovascular disease, researchers said today.
Low-dose aspirin cuts the risk of heart disease and stroke by making blood-clotting cells less sticky which prevents clotting.
But the generic drug Ibuprofen, hugely popular and taken to relieve aches and pains, diminishes the benefits of aspirin and can also increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
“If you have proven cardiovascular disease and you take prescribed aspirin to prevent further disease, it would not be a good idea to take prolonged, chronic Ibuprofen,” Professor Tom MacDonald of Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland, said.
The occasional Ibuprofen will not cause any problems, but MacDonald warned that the two should not be taken together for any extended period of time.
He and his colleague Li Wei studied the medical history of more than 7,000 patients with cardiovascular disease who had been discharged from hospital and were taking low-dose aspirin alone or in combination with ibuprofen. “There is about a doubling of mortality if you take both,” said MacDonald.
“It looks like there has been a significant attenuation of the beneficial effect of aspirin.”
Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs known as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). They relieve pain by blocking the action of an enzyme called Cox-1, which is found in the stomach and the blood, and Cox-2, which is in the skin and joints and is also produced at the side of the wound or pain. MacDonald found no increased risk of death in patients taking aspirin and diclofenac, another NSAID.
In a commentary in the journal, Garret FitzGerald, of the University of Oxford, said aspirin’s role in preventing heart attacks and strokes was well documented. “When patients taking aspirin for cardio protection require chronic treatment of inflammation with an NSAID, the addition of a conventional selective COX-2 inhibitor would seem preferable to ibuprofen,” he said.
Newer, more expensive drugs are more effective than diuretic drugs at fighting high blood pressure, Australian researchers reported, just two months after a massive North American study reached the opposite conclusion.
The latest research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that using blood pressure drugs known as ACE inhibitors leads to fewer heart attacks and deaths, at least among men, than older, cheaper diuretics do. The study of 6,083 volunteers may leave consumers scratching their heads because it found that users of ACE inhibitors lowered their risk of heart attack by 17 per cent.