By: Vicki Batts
A recent statement from the American Heart Association has revealed that many common drugs, including ibuprofen, may cause or worsen heart failure. The organization is also reportedly urging doctors to thoroughly check over all of their patients’ medications , including those that they take without a prescription, in order to ensure their lives aren’t at risk.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood around the body. Some of the symptoms include extreme tiredness, breathlessness and swelling of the legs. It often develops in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, and the condition tends to deteriorate over time.
The CDC reports that nearly 6 million American adults will experience heart failure. Statistics from 2009, indicate that roughly one-in-nine deaths list heart failure as a contributing condition. Nearly half of all people diagnosed with heart failure will die within five years of their diagnosis, according to the CDC. In other words, heart failure is a serious condition. Given that the average heart failure patient takes about seven medications daily, it is easy to see where things could become problematic. This is especially true if their medications are not being managed properly.
The statement from the AHA was released in July, and was also published on the website of the organization’s journal Circulation . Robert L. Page II, the chair of the committee that formulated the statement has commented: “Since many of the drugs heart failure patients are taking are prescribed for conditions such as cancer, neurological conditions or infections, it is crucial but difficult for healthcare providers to reconcile whether a medication is interacting with heart failure drugs or making heart failure worse.” Page is also a professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy. He also notes that while patients are often instructed to read food labels and be mindful of their diets, they are not often advised to watch what over-the-counter drugs they may be taking.
Ibuprofen is cited as being especially problematic for patients with heart failure. Patients who take ibuprofen or similar drugs are 10 times more likely to experience flare-ups. It’s estimate that they are also about 33 percent more likely to require a hospital admission.
This underlines how very dangerous just about any drug can be, especially if you have a preexisting health condition.