Is Pain Relief Worth Dying For? Voltaren Increases Stroke Risk By 63%

Doctors are writing millions of prescriptions a year for a painkiller that is known to raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes, a new study has warned.

Diclofenac, known as Voltaren, is given by GPs to ease the pain of arthritis, backache, gout and other common conditions.

Voltaren is also available over the counter at a lower dose.

A review of existing research showed the drug is one of the riskiest of its type, raising the danger of heart attacks and strokes – including fatal incidents – by up to 63 per cent.

This risk is almost identical to that of the painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), which was withdrawn from worldwide sales in 2004 because of cardiovascular risk and related deaths.

The study’s authors are calling for diclofenac to be banned or severely restricted in use.

In a review of studies on painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which also include ibuprofen, co-author Patricia McGettigan, of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry found diclofenac had the highest risk.

Despite this, it was the most used – meaning it was prescribed more often than safer alternatives such as the painkiller naproxen.

Dr McGettigan said that the dangers of diclofenac have been well-documented, so GPs are either not keeping up with the latest research or simply ignoring the warnings.


Emed's Comment

Make no mistake – All drugs cause side effects!

If you are using an anti-inflammatory drug, of any type, you need to consider the very real dangers and complications they cause. Stomach upsets, stomach ulcers, stomach perforation, bleeding from the bowel, damage to the kidneys, damage to the liver as well as heart attacks and strokes are all very real and very common side effects of drug anti-inflammatories.

Voltaren is just one of many drugs that can have deadly side effects. They may offer quick relief, however as seen in this research, they can also prove fatal. Especially if if taken by someone with a history of heart problems.

However, there is a better way. Natural Medicine and good musculoskeletal medicine can help relieve pain and inflammation without risking the lives of those undergoing treatment. Click here for Emed's Best Natural Anti-Inflammatories.

Rather than using a drug to reduce inflammation why not reduce your intake of sugar and grains to reduce inflammation naturally. Read “Eating to Reduce Inflammation” for more information.

For more information, contact your Emed Practitioner today. 


Further Reading:



  • McGettigan P, Henry D. Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that elevate cardiovascular risk: An examination of sales and essential medicine lists in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. PLoS Med 2013; DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001388.