Analgesics

Health written question – answered on 8th May 2014.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on whether the use of painkillers increases the risk of a stroke.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) continuously monitors the safety of all medicines on the market in the United Kingdom. The MHRA holds data from clinical trials, published literature and spontaneous reports of suspected adverse drug reactions collected through the Yellow Card Scheme.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used and effective medicines for the treatment of arthritis and other painful conditions. It has been known for many years that NSAIDs are associated with a small increased risk of heart attacks or strokes, particularly when used at a high dose and for a long time.

The MHRA has widely communicated the information and advice for health care professionals on the risk of heart attack and stroke with NSAIDs in letters and bulletins, and other publications through liaison with the British National Formulary and National Prescribing Centre. In addition, product information (including patient information leaflets) has been updated in order to support informed decision-making in relation to the choice of painkiller.

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