Blood clots can lead to a slew of serious health complications if they don’t dissolve naturally so minimising your risk is crucial. What’s worse, research ties a popular painkiller to a significantly higher risk of the gel-like clumps.
Although blood clotting helps to stop bleeding when you get injured, clots that form without an obvious reason and don’t dissolve can be life-threatening.
From heart attacks to strokes, the gel-like collections of blood can travel to the arteries or veins in the brain and heart and cause medical emergencies.
Worryingly, pain relief for various pains and aches could be increasing your likelihood of developing a blood clot.
According to meta-analysis, published in the British Medical Journal, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could lead to the formation of harmful clots.
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NSAIDs are widely used to relieve pain, target inflammation and bring down a fever.
While the term NSAIDs might not ring any bells, ibuprofen and aspirin that belong under this name don’t need any introductions.
The researchers have looked at various studies that have tied the likes of ibuprofen to an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis.
The Mayo Clinic explains that deep vein thrombosis, or DVT for short, details a specific type of blood clot that has formed in one or more of the deep veins in the body, usually in the legs.
“Physicians should be aware of this association and NSAIDs should be prescribed with caution, especially in patients already at a higher risk of venous thromboembolism.”
The research looked at one cohort study and five case-control studies that offered a total of 21 401 venous thromboembolism [blood clot] events for a review.
Those who used NSAIDs had a “statistically significant” increased risk of blood clots, compared to non-users.
While the authors explained that the six studies included in the meta-analysis were of “high quality”, the research still had some limitations.
For example, various NSAIDs were evaluated in the study, but that doesn’t mean that all individual drugs may increase your risk.
“Also, as it was a meta-analysis of observational studies, it could not be certain that the NSAIDS themselves increased the risk of venous thromboembolism,” the researchers added.
The NHS notes that if you decide to take ibuprofen, you should take the “lowest dose” for the “shortest possible time”.
Furthermore, you should always speak to a doctor or pharmacist before starting an ibuprofen treatment as the painkiller is not suitable for certain people, the health service adds.