Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can raise a person's risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding if taken regularly and at higher-than recommended dosages. Experts advise patients to talk with their physician because the drugs, which block COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes to reduce inflammation and pain, reduce production of prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining from the effects of stomach acid.
Peptic ulcers most commonly are caused by Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach or from using nonsteroidal painkillers, gastroenterologist Dr. Mubashir Khan says. He says the risk of developing an ulcer increases with age but stress also can be a factor.
Regularly taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease by as much as 60%, a new U.S. study found. "Our findings suggest NSAIDs are protective against Parkinson's disease, with a particularly strong protective effect among users of non-aspirin NSAIDs, especially those who reported two or more years of use," a co-author of the study said.
The combined use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat depression and other illnesses may heighten the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding by more than 600%, researchers warned. Data from four studies involving 153,000 patients showed that GI bleeding occurred after an average of 25 weeks in patients who took SSRIs, 67% of whom were also taking NSAIDs.
A "GI-friendly" nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, HZT-501, will be tested in late-stage clinical trials on about 1,200 patients with mild-to-moderate pain. The drug is designed to reduce stomach acidity during the peak ulcer risk period, to lower the bleeding risk associated with some NSAIDs.