Can Painkillers Increase Risk of Death After a Stroke?
Are stroke victims at added risk when they take certain painkillers? According to a recent article from HealthDay news, certain arthritis pain relievers such as Celebrex and Lodine have been linked to “an increased risk of dying within a month after a stroke.” These dangerous drugs, known as COX-2 inhibitors, are supposed to help with pain management, but they may pose more dangers than remedies.
The recent study came from researchers in Denmark, and, according to Dr. Ralph Sacco, the chairman of neurology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, it simply “adds to the prior concerns about COX-2 inhibitors and stroke risks.” Sacco emphasized that “patients at high risk for stroke should be cautious about taking such medications and should consult their physicians as to the best medications to treat inflammation and pain.” Although the study did not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between prior stroke patients and those who died of the same condition a short time later, researchers have emphasized a clear connection between the two.
The recent study looked at more than 100,000 patients hospitalized for a stroke between 2004 and 2012. Those patients who used Celebrex prior to their hospitalization were at a nearly 20 percent increased risk of dying of a stroke within a month after recovery. In general, users of COX-2 inhibitors were “42 percent more likely to die from stroke than those who were not taking the drugs.”
This is not the first time COX-2 inhibitors have been tied to serious risks of stroke-related death. Indeed, back in 2004, Merck took its drug Vioxx off the market precisely because of this connection. By 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had asked Pfizer to remove Bextra from the market for the same reason.
What about other painkillers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)? According to the study, drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen have not been linked to an increased risk of death following a stroke.
Stroke Symptoms and COX-2 Inhibitors
What are the signs or symptoms of a stroke? It is important to know the warning signs of a stroke, particularly if you have taken Celebrex or another COX-2 inhibitor. According to WebMD, the following signs and symptoms can indicate that you are having a stroke:
- Sudden weakness or numbness that occurs in your face, or in your arm and/or leg on one side of your body;
- Abrupt loss of vision, coordination, speech, and physical strength;
- Abrupt dimness of your vision, particularly in just one eye;
- Abrupt loss of balance or unexplained dizziness or falls;
- Sudden vomiting, nausea, fever, hiccups, or trouble swallowing;
- Sudden and severe headache without another known cause, which is often followed by loss of consciousness; and
- Any brief loss of consciousness.
If you have suffered from a stroke after taking a COX-2 inhibitor, you may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. Contact an experienced dangerous drug attorney to determine your rights.