FDA strengthens warnings on taking popular pain killers

Pain killers (NBC File Photo)

WASHINGTON, DC – The labels on popular painkillers like Aleve and Advil already caution users about possible heart risks.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is strengthening those warnings.

Instead of stating “these may cause an increased risk of heart attack and stroke” the labels will now read “they do cause an increased risk of heart attack and stroke”.

The warning covers both prescription and over-the-counter versions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

They include Ibuprofen and Naproxen, used in millions of homes nationwide to bring down fevers and ease pain.

Some consumers are wondering whether they should take them at all.

“The risk is small for taking a pill for an individual for a short period of time. But these drugs are in such wide use that the risk for the population becomes quite large,” says Dr. Allen Taylor of Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.  “It’s important that everyone is attentive to this and take these drugs only if you need them.”

The new warnings will add that the risk may occur within a few weeks of taking the medication and may be larger for people using them long-term.

Experts advise taking the smallest dose you need, for as short a duration as possible.

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