There might be an association between the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and venous thromboembolism. This is concluded by a research group at the Bassett Medical Center and the Columbia University College in New York (USA). Results of their review have been published recently in Rheumatology.For this literature study, researchers searched for results of earlier studies in databases such as MEDLINE and Embase. Using predefined criteria, six case control and cohort studies were selected in which the association between NSAID use and venous thromboembolism was researched. Results of these studies were tested for homogeneity and subsequently pooled. This meta-analysis shows a statistically significant elevated risk of venous thromboembolism in NSAID users.
Although the results of this study are robust, dr. Patompong Ungprasert and his colleagues are reluctant in drawing conclusions. The possibility of publication bias could not be excluded and data from the individual studies might be too heterogeneous to make comparisons. Therefore, cause and effect cannot be established and only a statistical association can be made.
NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, are one of the most commonly used drugs. They are known for their pain-killing, fever-reducing and anti-inflammatory qualities. NSAIDs have been associated with adverse effects such as gastric ulceration, bleeding and kidney failure.
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