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NSAIDs associated with future strokes

Taking a look at the possible link between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cardiovascular disease, researchers examined the risk of stroke in healthy individuals who use NSAIDs. About 500,000 people were included in the study.

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Analysis showed that 45% of the participants had received at least one prescription for an NSAID from 1997 to 2005. The researchers estimated the risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke associated with NSAID use and found that those using NSAIDs had an increased risk of stroke, but the risk varied with the type of NSAID used. The nonselective NSAID diclofenac and the selective COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib caused the greatest increase in stroke risk, and the risk appeared to be dose-dependent. Ibuprofen was associated with a smaller risk, and naproxen showed no increased risk.


The study authors concluded that rofecoxib and diclofenac should be used with caution, and that healthcare providers must consider the relative safety of these drugs when prescribing NSAIDs.


Source: Fosbol EL, Folke F, Jacobsen S, et al. Cause-specific cardiovascular risk associated with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs among healthy individuals. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010;3(4):395-405.


Sedatives increase mortality risk

A 12-year study looking at the lifestyle and health of more than 14,000 Canadians ages 18 to 102 found that those who took drugs for insomnia or anxiety had a higher mortality than those who didn't.


Every 2 years, respondents provided detailed information about their physical and mental health. Analyzing the data, researchers found that respondents who reported anxiolytic or hypnotic drug use in the past month were 1.36 times more likely to die than those who didn't use those types of drugs.


Although the increase in mortality is small, the study author suggested that healthcare providers as well as the public become better informed about the risks associated with sedative drug use.


Source: Belleville G. Mortality hazard associated with anxiolytic and hypnotic drug use in the National Population Health Survey. Can J Psychiatry. 2010;55(9):558-567.


Can statins keep arthritis at bay?

A retrospective study of over 200,000 patients found a link between persistent statin therapy and a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Researchers identified statin users who were at least age 18 and didn't have RA at the beginning of the study. The study period ran from 1998 to 2007, when researchers analyzed the incidence of newly diagnosed RA in these individuals. They also looked at the incidence of osteoarthritis (OA).


At the end of the study, 2,578 cases of RA and 17,878 cases of OA were reported. The researchers concluded that persistent use of statins was associated with a decrease in the risk of developing RA. They also noted that people who began statin treatment at a younger age (35 to 44) had a more pronounced decline in RA onset, indicating the potential role statins may play in blocking the inflammatory response.


Source: Chodick G, Amital H, Shalem Y, et al. Persistence with statins and onset of rheumatoid arthritis: a population-based cohort study. PLoS Med. 2010;7(9):e1000336.


What's the future of nursing?

With more than 3 million members, the nursing profession is the largest segment of the nation's healthcare workforce, but a number of barriers prevent nurses from being able to respond effectively to rapidly changing healthcare settings and an evolving healthcare system. According to a new Institute of Medicine report-The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health-these barriers need to be overcome to ensure that nurses are well positioned to lead change and advance health. To read the report, visit