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Pulmonary embolism risk with NSAIDs identified

By Christian Duffin

Patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more than twice as likely to have a pulmonary embolism than those who are not, say researchers.

Compared to non-users, patients on NSAIDs were 2.39 times more likely to suffer a pulmonary embolism, and the risk increased to 4.77 times higher during the first 30 days of exposure.

The researchers extracted data from a Dutch population-based registry spanning 1990 to 2006, of 4,433 cases patients hospitalised with a primary diagnosis of pulmonary embolism matched to 16,802 controls without a history of pulmonary embolism, all aged 18-96.

Dr Sara Biere-Rafi, a cardiologist researcher at the department of vascular medicine at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam who led the study, said: ‘Underlying conditions for which this medication was prescribed may have contributed to the occurrence of thrombosis.

'Nevertheless, clinicians should be aware of the potentially higher risk of pulmonary embolism in patients who receive these frequently prescribed painkillers.

Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 2011 online April 2

Pulmonary embolism risk with NSAIDs identified

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