A huge number of Americans struggle with pain on a daily basis. In fact, according to Very Well Health, between 60 and 80 percent of us will experience mild or more extreme back pain at some stage of our lives, with women being particularly vulnerable. Then there are millions more who deal with excruciating arthritis pain, joint pain or severe headaches.
The intensity of these types of pain can vary dramatically, as do the treatment choices people make. The go-to solution for millions of people, however, especially those with arthritis pain, is a freely available over-the-counter drug called diclofenac, known in the U.S. as Voltaren, Solaraze or Voltarol.
A dangerous assumption that many of us make is that a drug must be harmless or carry very few side effects if it is sold without prescription. This is simply not true, however, and diclofenac is no exception. As reported by The Sun, a recent study found that this common painkiller can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack by a staggering 50 percent.
Large-scale study of over six million adults raises alarms
The study, conducted by researchers from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and published in the British Medical Journal, was the largest of its kind ever conducted and included 6.3 million adult participants. It found that not only does diclofenac increase the risk of a sudden heart attack or stroke by 50 percent, but it also places patients at higher risk of gastrointestinal bleeding than other painkilling medications.
The study concluded that there is a conclusive link between diclofenac and “major cardiovascular events.” (Emphasis added)
Shockingly, this drug is even used in children as a treatment for severe joint pain.
While concerns about its safety have led British lawmakers to withdraw it from over-the-counter sales and change it to a prescription only drug, it is still freely available OTC in the United States and many other countries. The research team believes that this needs to change urgently and that more countries need to follow the U.K.’s lead.
“Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” warned Dr Morten Schmidt. “It is time to acknowledge the potential health risk of diclofenac and to reduce its use.”
The Sun reported:
In those who took diclofenac for 30 days, the risk rose by 50 per cent – compared to those people not taking any drugs.
Compared to those using ibuprofen, the risk of using diclofenac increased by 20 per cent – and 30 per cent compared to those taking naproxen. …
The drug belongs to a class of painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). …
The new study also found an increased risk of cardiac death in those people taking the drug, compared to other NSAIDs.
Those patients were also more likely to suffer internal bleeding in the upper intestines.
This is by no means the first study to point out the dangers of diclofenac and other OTC medications. It does remind us, however, just how much better it is to avoid chemical drugs and to try to treat pain and inflammation with natural alternatives instead.
Natural pain relief
Refusing to use dangerous medications like ibuprofen, diclofenac and paracetamol doesn’t mean you have to live with debilitating pain for the rest of your life, though. Numerous studies have proved that there are natural ways to fight pain without all the dangerous side effects.
Natural News previously reported, for example:
Dutch researchers found the same recovery rate of drug takers versus placebos. It is the water that you drink that does the job. Not the liver-toxic-internal bleeding-hearing loss-impotence-problems-Tylenol. Drinking water and staying hydrated alleviates pain time and time again as dehydration causes histamines to react in areas of pain in the body. [Emphasis added]
Other studies have found that other pain management practices like acupuncture, massage and aromatherapy are at least as effective as painkillers – again, without the dangerous side effects. There are ways to fight pain without compromising your long-term health and well-being. Learn more at Medicine.news.