NSAID Use Associated with Atrial Fibrillation in Older People

Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the elderly is 
associated with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AF), 
according to a prospective study in BMJ Open.

Using a Dutch cohort designed to investigate risk factors of disease 
onset in the aged, researchers followed some 8400 people for 13 years. 
None had AF at baseline (when their mean age was 69 years).

Current use of NSAIDs for 15 to 30 days was associated with a higher 
AF risk, relative to never use (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.76). Use in 
the recent past (within the past 30 days) also brought increased risk 
(HR 1.84). There was a suggestive dose-response relation, but it 
didn’t reach statistical significance.

The authors speculate that, in addition to possible effects on blood 
pressure, NSAIDs could cause fluctuations in serum potassium, possibly 
contributing to the observed association.

BMJ Open article

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