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Learn more about medication that can pose risks to people with diabetes

take photo; Play / Freepik / aleksandarlittlewolf

Available in any Brazilian pharmacy – including on the shelves – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are consumed as pain relievers. Usually bought without a prescription, this class of drugs, when used indiscriminately, can pose health risks. Scientific research presented recently at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology revealed that short-term NSAID intake is associated with first-time hospitalization for heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The work was carried out by researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, who examined medical records to identify people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes from 1998 to 2021. Patients with heart failure or rheumatic diseases requiring use were excluded. Those from the long-term drug analysis. Information was collected on prescriptions for oral NSAIDs (celecoxib, diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen) that were requested prior to first hospital admission for heart failure.

Using a specific methodology, scientists have discovered that short-term use of these drugs has a statistical association with the risk of developing the condition. “In our study, one in six patients with type 2 diabetes claimed to have used at least one NSAID within a year,” said Dr. Anders Holt, first author of the research. The researcher also noted that in general, the recommendation is to always consult a health professional before starting a new medication. “With the results, we hope to help clinicians mitigate risks when prescribing this class of medication,” he concluded.

The study included 331,189 patients with type 2 diabetes. The average age was 62 years, and 44% were women. During the first year, 16% of those reported using a prescription for an NSAID, while 3% received a prescription three times in the same period. Over a 5.85-year period, 23,308 participants with heart failure were admitted for the first time.

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Holt noted that data on over-the-counter anti-inflammatories were not included in the study. But he stressed, “The limitation likely had no effect on results, as a previous report found that over-the-counter NSAIDs make up a small proportion of total use.” The researcher concluded that the research was based on observation and that it cannot be confirmed that the drugs cause heart failure in patients of this group. He emphasized, however, that the findings indicate potential risks that should be considered. “The data suggest that it may be safe to prescribe short-acting NSAIDs to patients under 65 years of age with well-controlled diabetes.”