Most people are aware that all drugs have problems, but few are fully aware about the dangers and risks of ibuprofen side effects and how much they harm the body.
Our society pops Advil and Alieve with nary a thought to the downsides, choosing merely to believe in the ability of these types of over the counter medications to control pain and inflammation. After all, the TV commercials suggest that they work wonders.
The general concern with NSAID side effects is gastrointestinal. GI bleeds account for about 16,000-21,000 deaths per year from the use of these drugs. While these numbers sound pretty significant, I personally think this side effect pales in comparison to the cardiovascular concerns.
Ever since Vioxx was pulled off the market amid safety concerns brought to light by a whistleblower that had been hidden by Merck for at least 3 years, the research into the link between heart attacks and stroke and NSAIDs has been ongoing.
Now, it is clear that NSAIDs should not be used in anyone with a history of cardiovascular disease. I would personally add anyone who is prediabetic as well (which catches over 1/2 the population) since this condition also leads to increased clotting of the blood and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
This particular study adds an additional dimension to the scary side effects of use of NSAIDs.
The Sirtuin family of genes has been clearly associated with longevity. Without getting too physiological, they are NAD+ dependent histone deacetylases that help to protect our DNA from damage. This affect is believed to be pronounced in the telomeres of our cells.
So what if you found out that among NSAID side effects is the blocking of this pathway? I don’t know about you, but I’d be heavily concerned about what this is going to do to me in the long run. That is, of course, if I survive the GI bleed and heart attack and don’t become too depressed from the impotence.
My bottom line is, of course, biased because I am a chiropractor. Not everyone who goes to see a chiropractor is going to get off of their pain medications. But, the number of patients who would never need them in the first place because they got in for treatment right away as well as the patients with chronic pain who could reduce of eliminate the use of NSAIDs and avoid the ibuprofen side effects would be significant.
So often chiropractic care is compared to standard drug treatments for conditions like headaches, neck pain and low back pain. Most often we are at least as effective (although these studies evaluate manipulation only and do not look at typical comprehensive care in a chiropractic office), but none of these studies comment on the overall stark difference in side effects of manipulation vs NSAIDs.
If you use some type of NSAID on a consistent basis, what have you done to try to wean yourself from them?