Health, Zoomer Report

Aleve and Heart

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U.S. health officials say the pain reliever in Aleve may be safer for the heart than other popular anti-inflammatory drugs taken by millions of people.

A Food and Drug Administration review said naproxen – the key ingredient in Aleve and dozens of other generic pain pills – may have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than other popular medications like ibuprofen, which is sold as Advil and Motrin. FDA staffers recommend relabeling naproxen to emphasize its safety.

The issue came to a head nearly a decade ago after Merck Co. pulled Vioxx off the market because of heart risks.

At the time, authorities said there didn’t appear to be an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes with the over-the-counter painkillers. But the most recent analysis looked at certain particularly vulnerable patients. The conclusion there was that naproxen wasn’t linked to an apparent increase in risk of death. The others drugs were, except for low doses of ibuprofen.

The agency will ask a panel of experts to discuss the latest evidence before deciding whether naproxen should be relabelled. Health Canada often follows suit following recommendations by the FDA.

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