FDA Strengthens Heart Safety Warnings on Popular Pain Relievers

Federal health regulators are bolstering warning labels on popular pain relievers to reflect new information about their risks of heart attack and stroke.

The changes announced Thursday apply to prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, including arthritis treatments like Celebrex. The agency said it plans to make similar changes to over-the-counter drugs in the same class, such as Advil and Motrin.

Language on the pills currently warns that they can increase the risk of heart-related problems if used long term.

However, the Food and Drug Administration’s new warning states that heart attacks and strokes can occur in the first few weeks of taking the drugs. The agency also warns that the risks increase with higher doses of the drugs. The updates are based on an FDA review of recent studies and recommendations by outside advisers.