Patients Urged To Follow Painkiller Labels

While government officials and medical experts stress that the newly discovered link between the painkiller Aleve and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke is a preliminary finding, they also say people should talk to their doctor if they plan on taking the drug for long periods of time. The advice comes on the heels of Monday's revelation that Aleve (naproxen) increased the risk of cardiovascular trouble by 50 percent in elderly patients who were part of a government study on Alzheimer's disease prevention. That news prompted scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to say they will review the safety of all such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) painkillers, including ibuprofen, in all agency-sponsored clinical trials. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement saying that people taking naproxen should follow the instructions on the drug's label, and not exceed the recommended dosage or take it for longer than 10 days unless their doctor tells them to do so. Medical experts echoed that advice.

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