Not all NSAIDs have the same effect on your heart, according to a 2011 meta-analysis in BMJ. The study pulled the results of 31 research trials comparing the effects of naproxen, ibuprofen, celecoxib (Celebrex), and four other NSAIDs on cardiovascular risk. The analysis found that ibuprofen had three times the risk of stroke and twice the risk for cardiovascular death compared to a placebo. People taking ibuprofen were also at a 61% higher risk of having a heart attack and a 77% higher risk of death. Naproxen had the smallest effect on cardiovascular risk, but the researchers concluded that NSAIDs can strain your cardiovascular health.
As a 2020 review in Nature Reviews Cardiology reported, people with cardiovascular disease are already advised against taking NSAIDs because of the risk of heart failure and high blood pressure. Even so, people, particularly older adults, don’t want to turn to opioids to manage their pain. However, a cardiovascular event can occur even if someone takes NSAIDs for less than seven days. The researchers suggested that people with cardiovascular disease should opt for physical therapy, exercise, and weight management to manage their pain and cardiovascular risk.