Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), according to new research published in Rheumatology.

The researchers analyzed the results of six studies involving more than 21,000 cases of VTE. The analysis determined that people who used NSAIDs had an 80 percent higher risk for VTE.

However, the study only showed an association between use of the painkillers and higher clotting risk; it did not prove cause and effect. In addition, all types of NSAIDs were evaluated as one group, but not all types of NSAIDs may boost the risk of VTE, the lead researcher noted in a journal news release.

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“Our results show a statistically significant increased VTE risk among NSAID users. Why NSAIDs may increase the risk of VTE is unclear,” study lead author Patompong Ungprasert, M.D., of the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., said in a journal news release. “Physicians should be aware of this association and NSAIDs should be prescribed with caution, especially in patients already at a higher risk of VTE.”


  1. Ungprasert, Patompong, et al. “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of venous thromboembolism: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Rheumatology. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keu408. September 24, 2014.