EUGENE, Ore., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association (AHA) has become a member of the Alliance for the Rational Use of NSAIDs, joining a growing list of patient and provider organizations committed to supporting the safe and appropriate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).The announcement comes after the September release of new research in AHA journal Circulation, which found that heart attack survivors who take NSAIDs face a significantly increased risk of a second heart attack or death.
NSAIDs are one of the most commonly used medications in the United States for pain relief and reduction of fever and inflammation – more than 23 million people use them on a daily basis. Although generally safe when used properly, when used improperly, NSAIDs can cause severe adverse events affecting the digestive system, kidneys and heart. The new study shows that NSAID usage poses an even higher risk to heart attack patients than previously thought. Researchers found that heart attack survivors who used NSAIDs faced a 59 percent higher risk of death from any cause one year after their heart attack, and a 63 percent higher risk five years after. Additionally, survivors faced a 30 percent increased risk of having another heart attack or dying from coronary artery disease after one year and a 41 percent increased risk after five years.
"The Alliance's mission to support the education of health care professionals and patients about appropriate use of these drugs is critical for us, particularly in light of the new Circulation study," said Elliott Antman, M.D., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the AHA board of directors.
The Alliance, which launched in September, serves as a public health coalition to promote proper NSAID usage. To guide appropriate use and lessen the risk of adverse events, the Alliance seeks to promote compliance with the FDA's strong recommendation that all NSAIDs be administered at the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration of time, while taking into account patient-specific risk factors and clinical needs.
"Cardiovascular risks associated with improper NSAID use are a growing concern," said Jennifer Wagner, executive director of the Western Pain Society stated. "We are honored to have the AHA join us, and look forward to continuing to educate the public about this important and timely issue."
The Alliance is organized under the auspices of the Western Pain Society in partnership, and includes membership organizations:
- American Heart Association
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
- American Chronic Pain Association
- National Council on Patient Information and Education
- National Kidney Foundation
About the Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs
The Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs is a public health coalition dedicated to the safe and appropriate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The Alliance aims to bridge the gap between guidance and clinical practice, educating health care professionals and the public at-large on the and appropriate use of NSAID therapy—maximizing benefits while reducing risks, and improving health care delivery. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.NSAIDAlliance.com.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America's No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
 Schjerning Olsen, Anne-Marie. "Circulation." Circulation. (2012): n. page. Print. <http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/09/07/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.112607.abstract>.
SOURCE Alliance for Rational Use of NSAIDs