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Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Naproxen

Feb. 19, 2014

Recent studies show that one pain killer may be better for your heart, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is saying there's not enough data to prove that Naproxen is actually safer.

Naproxen is the pain reliever found in Aleve.

An FDA advisory panel recently met and decided that Naproxen does not appear to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke compared to other anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen.

Federal health experts say recent studies about Naproxen's potential benefits are inconclusive and do not warrant label changes that would send the message that the pain killer is safer.

Dr. Tim Williams of Cardiovascular Associates in Charlottesville has some advice for people who currently have heart problems and are concerned about taking pain relievers.

"I think at this point, I would advise against Naproxen and other NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen that can be used. It's considered a relative risk but it's an increased risk for patients with coronary disease," said Dr. Williams.

Right now, Dr. Williams says there's not enough evidence to show that Naproxen is safer than other medications, but that could change as more trials are expected to be completed in the next five years.

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