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Arthritis

2004 Edition

New Research:
Some Arthritis Drugs Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Many anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are known to increase blood pressure. This new study estimated that the small increases in blood pressure produced by these medications have a significant effect on the rates of heart attacks and strokes in people with arthritis.

The researchers used data from the Framingham study on the relationship between blood pressure and cardiovascular events (like heart attacks and strokes) and data indicating that 11.8 million adults with OA or RA in the United States receive medication to treat high blood pressure. The researchers then estimated that a 1-mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) in these people would cause 7,100 more cardiovascular events each year. A 5-mm Hg increase in their systolic blood pressure would cause 35,700 additional cardiovascular events yearly.

According to an accompanying editorial, doctors should vigilantly monitor blood pressure in their arthritis patients and try to prescribe arthritis medications that are less likely to increase blood pressure.


The Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 30, pages 642 and 714
April 2003

 


 


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2005
WHITE PAPERS

Arthritis

The arthritis White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.

 

 

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