Regulators should disclose all confidential safety data on painkillers after a new study suggested the widely used &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/ 19/94/377/15353_arthritis.html ' target=_blank>painkillers diclofenac and ibuprofen may trigger an increased risk of heart attacks, the British Medical Journal says today.
The analysis, based on research with more than 9,200 patients in the UK, tentatively links a higher number of heart attacks to both drugs, as well as to rofecoxib or Vioxx, the drug withdrawn last autumn by Merck, its manufacturer, after concerns about side- effects.
In an editorial, the BMJ stressed caution in interpreting the latest results, but said it highlighted the need for full disclosure by the US Food and Drug Administration of the safety data, much of which remains classified as commercially secret.
The data could trigger a drop in demand for the drugs cited, including ibuprofen, which was discovered by Boots, the chemists, and is currently up for sale as part of its &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/15536_africa.html ' target=_blank>international health division, reports the Financial Times.
It said British researchers analyzed the drug regimen among 9,218 people in England and Wales who had suffered their first heart attack.
They took into account the person's age, obesity, smoking habits, whether the patient was taking aspirin or had heart disease, for these are factors that could distort the picture.
The researchers found that the risk of a first-time heart attack was 'significantly increased' for people who had taken certain NSAIDs in the three months before the cardiac event, when compared with those who had not taken any NSAID in the previous three years.
For the over-the-counter NSAID ibuprofen, the increased risk was 24 pct, and for diclofenac, it was 55 pct.