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Response to BMJ Ibuprofen Study


June 11, 2005

For immediate release

Boots Healthcare New Zealand (BHNZ), manufacturers of Nurofen, a non-prescription ibuprofen-based pain reliever, is concerned at the way in which ibuprofen is presented in a study, published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The study in question looks at non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) available on prescription and should not be confused with non-prescription pain relievers. Evidence available to date shows that ibuprofen, at non-prescription doses (low dose), is not associated with an increased risk of heart attack.1,2,3

According to Zephanie Jordan, Director of Scientific Affairs, at BHNZ, there is no need for people taking non-prescription ibuprofen products to be concerned about their safety in relation to increased risk of heart attack.

“Ibuprofen is a highly effective pain medicine that has been used safely in more than 50 countries worldwide and by millions of people. There is a considerable body of scientific evidence illustrating the safety and efficacy of ibuprofen when used at low doses and for short-term use. Consumers can have full confidence in the use of ibuprofen when taken according to the directions on the pack.”l

The International Ibuprofen Foundation has said that it is disappointed in the interpretation of the results from the study by Hippisley-Cox published by the BMJ this week, and considers the associated press release as misleading and irresponsible in referring to a 24% increased risk of heart attacks with prescription ibuprofen. There is a great danger that this figure may be inaccurate and falsely interpreted.

The BMJ’s own editorial has questioned the study, stating, “The quality of the data on cardiovascular risk factors and other potential confounders was poor”.

According to Ms Jordan, New Zealanders should feel confident that Nurofen, when used according to directions and at non-prescription doses, is a safe and effective pain reliever.

Anyone with a question or concern about the most appropriate pain reliever to use should see his or her doctor or pharmacist.

- ends -

1. Patel NT, Goldberg KC. Arch Intern Med 2004;164:852-856

2. Kurth T, et al. Circulation 2003;108 :1191-1195

3. Hudson M et al, Anti-inflammatory drugs are associated with a decreased risk of recurrent acute myocardial infarction in patients on aspirin. American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting 2002

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