Heart risk warning over painkiller diclofenac

Pills Diclofenac is used for conditions such as headaches, back pain and arthritis

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People with heart problems have been advised to stop using one of the most commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs in the UK.

The medicines regulator said painkiller diclofenac could significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke for some patients.

The advice has been updated after a European review of the risks.

Millions of people take diclofenac for a range of conditions including headaches, back pain and arthritis.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the drug should not be used by people with serious underlying heart conditions.

People who have suffered heart failure, heart disease or a stroke should stop using it completely.

Smokers and people with high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and diabetes have been advised to use the drug only after consulting their GP or pharmacist.

The MHRA said diclofenac would continue to provide safe and effective pain relief, apart from patients in certain "at risk" groups.

Dr Sarah Branch, deputy director of the MHRA's vigilance and risk management of medicines division, said: "Whilst this is a known risk and warnings have been included in patient and healthcare information for some time, this advice is now being updated."

Six million prescriptions were written for diclofenac last year and the drug is also available over the counter.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    59-Comment on herbal medicine is voted down. Our media is very against anything alternative. While it occasionally sensationalises problems with a drug- if it's becoming obvious anyway- it mostly covers up abuses by big pharma.
    Alternatives eg. herbal and homeopathy are normal in eg. France and Germany with better educated and generally less naive population than UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    @49. Paladin101
    "Tomfer @ 45, it's a pretty wild assumption that latest = best!"

    Really ????? You don`t think that as with EVERYTHING that is DEVELOPED AND IMPROVED ,that pharmaceuticals are the same ??
    Many better are later developed drugs are used on a regular basis in OTHER countries to great effect,why do you think they use them ? Generic is the legalised theft of others intellectual property

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Diclofenac or Voltaren has numerous side effects - This mediation should have been withdrawn from over the counter sale

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    All pharmaceuticals are dangerous and some have devastating side effects. These include NSAIDS like Diclofenac also fluroquinolone antibiotics which can leave you paralysed, with tendon ruptures and central nervous system problems. Pharmaceutical companies don't care about people, they only care about profits. I don't have heart problems - was given Diclofenac - appalling side effects. Deadly!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Wasn't tested fully then.


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