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FDA Wants Stronger Warning Labels On Pain Meds

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Federal regulators have new concerns about more heart risks associated with pain relievers.

To combat the concerns, prescription pain medications are going to start coming with stronger warnings.

The FDA now wants labels to caution that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAID, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

"Previously the warnings stated that these drugs may cause (covered) an increased risk of heart attack and stroke," said Dr. Tara Narula of Lenox Hill Hospital. "They are also going to say that the risk can happen in the first few weeks of using these drugs."

The drugs are widely used to treat pain for chronic problems such as arthritis, back pain, headaches and muscle aches.

"People who have had heart attacks and stroke or people who have risk factors for heart attack that are at the highest risk, but what this highlights is that everybody is at risk," said Narula.

Over the counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, are also in for new labels that include more information about cardiovascular risks.

The association that represents nonprescription drug makers promises to work with federal regulators and said that over the counter pain relievers have a long history of safety when used as directed.

The FDA recommends patients take the lowest effective dose of pain killers for the shortest amount of time possible.

The FDA said the new warning does not apply to aspirin which is also an NSAID.

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