What new research out of Korea tells us about NSAID use and heart attacks

The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and bleeding events among Korean myocardial infarction (MI) patients, according to new findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study’s authors tracked more than 108,000 patients who suffered their first heart attack between 2009 and 2013. The average patient age was 64.2 years old, and 72.1% of patients were men.

Overall, prescriptions for NSAIDS—including naproxen, ibuprofen and others—were linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular and bleeding events within just seven days of beginning treatment.

The risks were lowest when patients were given celecoxib and meloxicam. So when NSAID use is “unavoidable” following a MI, the authors said those two medications “could be considered as alternative options.”  

Lead author Cheol Ung Choi, MD, PhD, of the Korea University College of Medicine, explained in a statement why this research was so important for physicians all over the world.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first population-based study to investigate the cardiovascular and bleeding risk associated with concomitant NSAIDs treatment in a non-Western population with myocardial infarction,” Choi said. “Our study adds important value to the currently available evidence for concomitant NSAIDs treatment after MI by constituting global evidence that encompasses diverse population groups.”

The full study is available here.