Diclofenac, according to studies, is the most used and most popular painkiller in the world. It may not be as popular as other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in the United States, its popularity is boosted in, at least, 15 countries as it continues to outsell naproxen, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs.
Studies also suggest that diclofenac may increase the chance of heart attack in a person by 40 percent. If his annual heart attack risk is 1 in 1,000, it will be increased to 1.4. The figures may be perceived as “insubstantial” but for people with higher heart attack risk, it’s different.
For instance, a patient has a heart attack risk of 10 per thousand; taking diclofenac will boost the risk to 14 per thousand. That’s a substantial increase and considering heart attacks and strokes are lethal in nature, no one can afford to take such risk.
For now, no one can tell what the fate of the drug would be but there is a greater possibility it would be discontinued if the ongoing Europe-wide review of the drug’s safety would arrive at a result consistent to what researchers and scientists asserted.
Aside from being affordable, diclofenac is more potent painkiller than other NSAIDs available in the market today because it is often marketed in high dosage. But this is also one of the reasons why it magnifies cardiovascular risk. Since it is included in the World Health Organization’s list of “essential medicines,” some countries in Asia as well as in Europe depends on its ability to relieve pain and prevent inflammation of injuries.
Diclofenac is often used to treat painful effects of arthritis. While it can be bought over the counter with doctor’s authorization, medical practitioners who advise their patients to use this drug prescribe the lowest possible dose to prevent side effects.
Some doctors have already submitted their petitions to the World Health Organization to remove the drug from its list of essential medicines. Others wanted to take it out of the market for the benefit of patients.