blood-clot-10073347Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been found to increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. A meta-analysis of one cohort study and five case control studies has concluded that the risk is statistically significant. The research, which has been published in the journal Rheumatology, contains 21401 venous thromboembolism events, but no clinical trials have been included since this adverse event is uncommon.  Patompong Ungprasert of the Bassett Medical Center in New York, the lead author of this study, mentioned that this was the first meta-analysis investigating this issue. Also, he explained that the reason of this adverse event was not clear, but perhaps it was related to COX-2 inhibition.

However, the study has some limitations that require health care providers to be cautious when interpreting these data. First, NSAIDs were evaluated as one group, which ignored the fact of the individuality of medications. Second, because clinical trials were not included, the cause-effect relationship could not be fully established. How would you counsel your patients about using NSAIDs considering the growth of the amount of research that describe their adverse effects?

For additional information, please see BMJ.

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] /