Reducing side-effects of painkillers

Sep 12, 2006

Cardiff University researchers have increased the understanding of why some painkillers increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The most commonly prescribed medications for treating conditions such as arthritis are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which include, for example, ibuprofen. These drugs reduce pain, fever and inflammation but also carry a greater risk of cardiovascular side effects in some patients. However, the factors that cause such adverse effects were unknown.

Now a team in Cardiff University's School of Medicine, working with colleagues at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, have discovered a link with levels of nitric oxide in the blood.

Blood vessels use nitric oxide to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, dilating the artery and increasing blood flow. Patients with cardiovascular disease and arthritis have lower blood vessel nitric oxide levels.

Dr Valerie O'Donnell, of the School of Medicine's Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology at Cardiff University said: "We have found that reducing nitric oxide levels in some rodents makes them more likely to suffer cardiovascular side effects from NSAIDs, such as increased blood pressure. Although this is a small study, it will be important now to look at whether this happens in humans. It may mean that monitoring nitric oxide, or replacing it in certain individuals may help decrease the risk of side effects."

Source: Cardiff University

Explore further: New resuscitation guidelines for severely hypothermic patients in cardiac arrest

Related Stories

Testing astronauts' lungs in Space Station airlock

Mar 10, 2015

Air was pumped out of the International Space Station's air lock for the first time in the name of science last week. Inside the cylindrical Quest airlock, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA's ...

Nano-antioxidants prove their potential

Feb 09, 2015

Injectable nanoparticles that could protect an injured person from further damage due to oxidative stress have proven to be astoundingly effective in tests to study their mechanism.

Study confirms controversial nitrite hypothesis

Dec 12, 2014

Understanding how nitrite can improve conditions such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke has been the object of worldwide research studies. New research from Wake Forest University has potentially moved the science ...

Research band at Karolinska tuck Dylan gems into papers

Sep 29, 2014

(Phys.org) —A 17-year old bet among scientists at the Karolinska Institute has been a wager that whoever wrote the most articles with Dylan quotes before they retired would get a free lunch. Results included ...

Recommended for you

Diet rich in methionine may promote memory loss

31 minutes ago

Memory loss has recently been associated with excessive silencing of genes through a process called methylation. Researchers at the University of Louisville investigated the effects of a diet rich in methionine—an amino ...

Arizona governor signs abortion drug notification mandate

44 minutes ago

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill Monday that requires abortion providers in Arizona to tell women they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion and also bars women from buying any health care plan through the federal ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.