Features April 2015 Issue

NSAIDs May Raise Risk of Blood Clots Developing in Deep Veins

Clots can either block blood flow or travel to the lungs and create a pulmonary embolism.

NSAIDs May Raise Risk of Blood Clots Developing in Deep Veins

COX-2 inhibitors are associated with venous thromboembolisms, but experts say use of the painkillers should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

You may take a pain reliever to help ease discomfort ranging from a mild headache to joint pain related to severe arthritis. But if you’re at risk for a blood clot (thrombosis) in a deep vein, you may want to think twice about a particular painkiller: a COX-2 inhibitor (Celebrex®). A recent analysis, published in the journal Rheumatology, found that the use of COX-2 inhibitors more than doubles the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE)—the development of a blood clot in a deep vein that may then travels to the lung and form a pulmonary embolism. The VTE risks weren’t as significant among people who use COX-1 inhibitors, such as aspirin. COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors are part of a class of medications known as nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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