NSAID use in aged leads to higher stroke risk

Analysis of prescribing data from a Department of Veterans’ Affairs register from 2001 to 2008 found a 1.88 times increased risk of hospitalisation for stroke following incident dispensing of an NSAID.

The absolute risk of stroke in the cohort of 162,000 Australians (60% men) with an average age of 76 years, was calculated at a “low” 7.1 per 1000 people per year, lead researcher Dr Gillian Caughey, from the University of South Australia’s Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, said.

Analysis showed the increased risk of hospitalisation for ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke following NSAID dispensing equated to an increased absolute risk of 13.4 strokes per 1000 per year.

A small rise in stroke risk was particularly important for older people with comorbidities, she said, adding that the data strengthened the association between NSAIDs and cardiovascular events emerging internationally (MO, 4 Oct).