Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including naproxen, considered by some as one of the safest drugs in this class, is associated with a significantly increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI), results of a new patient-level meta-analysis show.
The analysis showed the heightened MI risk occurred as early as the first week of use and the risk was greater with higher doses.
"This new research on NSAIDs reinforces what physicians know already, that patients should use the smallest possible dose for the shortest possible time," Michèle Bally, PhD, an epidemiologist in the Department of Pharmacy and Research Center, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.
Even though the research suggests the increased MI risk lessened over time, "the findings were not conclusive enough about longer duration," said Dr Bally.
But for most patients, the risk is very small, she noted. "If you average people with different baseline heart risks, the risk specifically due to an NSAID is only about 1% per year, so out of 100 people treated continuously for a year, there will be one extra heart attack."
The research was published online May 3 in BMJ.