FDA Strengthens NSAID Warnings Regarding Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

FDA Strengthens NSAID Warnings Regarding Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
FDA Strengthens NSAID Warnings Regarding Heart Attack and Stroke Risk

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening an existing label warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Based on the comprehensive review of new safety information, the FDA is requiring updates to the drug labels of all prescription NSAIDs. As is the case with current prescription NSAID labels, the Drug Facts labels of over-the-counter (OTC) non-aspirin NSAIDs already contain information on heart attack and stroke risk. The FDA will also request updates to the OTC non-aspirin NSAID Drug Facts labels.

Based on the FDA review and the advisory committees' recommendations, the prescription NSAID labels will be revised to reflect the following information:

  • The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
  • The risk appears greater at higher doses.
  • It was previously thought that all NSAIDs may have a similar risk. Newer information makes it less clear that the risk for heart attack or stroke is similar for all NSAIDs; however, this newer information is not sufficient for the FDA to determine that the risk of any particular NSAID is definitely higher or lower than that of any other particular NSAID.
  • NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. A large number of studies support this finding, with varying estimates of how much the risk is increased, depending on the drugs and the doses studied.
  • In general, patients with heart disease or risk factors for it have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following NSAID use than patients without these risk factors because they have a higher risk at baseline.
  • Patients treated with NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to patients who were not treated with NSAIDs after their first heart attack.
  • There is an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use.

The FDA will request similar updates to the existing heart attack and stroke risk information in the Drug Facts labels of OTC non-aspirin NSAIDs. In addition, the format and language contained throughout the labels of prescription NSAIDs will be updated to reflect the newest information available about the NSAID class.

Patients and health care professionals should remain alert for heart-related side effects the entire time that NSAIDs are being taken.

For more information call (855) 543-3784 or visit FDA.gov.

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