Many times throughout our newsletters we have discussed various anti-inflammatories along with the risks and benefits behind them. We have also told you about how certain pharmaceuticals have made it into the news because they increased the risk of a heart attack or stroke when used for extended periods of time — and we updated you on further information as it came to light surrounding other painkillers.
While the jury is still out in terms of the safety of painkillers, studies continue to determine which ones are safe and which ones should be avoided.
In September, the journal Hypertension printed a study wherein it was found that women who frequently used pain medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen — but not aspirin — were at a greater risk of developing hypertension.
The researchers concluded that because as a society we frequently use painkillers, then this might have an effect on the increasing statistics for hypertension. “Higher daily doses of acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs independently increase the risk of hypertension in women.”
But, a study printed in September’s issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine found that the risk for men was not the same as it was for women. According to this study, there have been a number of studies — such as the one previously mentioned – that have linked women to analgesics and an increased risk of hypertension, but very few which showed any causal link between men and the use of painkillers.
The study looked at 8,229 healthy men who had no signs of hypertension. The study followed the male physicians for almost six years. At that time, just over 27% — 2,234 — reported higher blood pressure.
Lifestyle and genetic risks were also taken into account over the course of the study.
The study found that there was no significant risk in men who used anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, or aspirin, but could not exclude a minimal or moderate risk based on these preliminary studies.
From these two accounts, however, the risk for women appears higher than the risk for men.
If you find that you require over-the-counter pain medication often, and for long periods of time, you should speak to your doctor about other treatment options.