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Researcher receives DKK 7.5 million towards major Danish study of painkillers

How safe are painkillers and do the warnings about side effects lead to medical doctors refraining from prescribing pain killers to heart patients? These are some of the questions which researcher Morten Schmidt from Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital, and the Regional Hospital West Jutland wishes to answer with the help of a DKK 7.5 million grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Morten Schmidt. Photo: Michael Grøn, Billedmageren.
Morten Schmidt. Photo: Michael Grøn, Billedmageren.

Voltaren, Ipren, Ibuprofen, or Bonyl. In Denmark, most consumers know the so-called NSAIDs under these names and each year, hundreds of thousands of people take these tablets for pain relief or because they have a fever or inflammation. 

The products are among the most sold in the world, but they have side effects such as increased blood pressure and gastric ulcers. NSAIDs have also been associated with heart problems including heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat, and the health authorities therefore recommend that patients with heart disease should exercise great care when taking them.

While Morten Schmidt works as a medical doctor at the Department of Cardiology at Herning Regional Hospital, thanks to a combined position he is also able to carry out research on a part-time basis at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University Hospital. In connection with the research project, he will utilize data from Danish registries to study how safe NSAIDs are. 

"We’re looking into types of painkillers that haven’t previously been studied, and whether warnings from the health authorities have influenced how medical doctors prescribe the medicine for heart patients. At the same time, we’re looking at whether the medicine increases the risk of heart attacks in people within the risk group because they suffer from e.g. diabetes, obesity, and elevated cholesterol," says Morten Schmidt.


Further information

MD, PhD and Associate Professor Morten Schmidt
Email: morten.schmidt@clin.au.dk

Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital
Department of Cardiology, Regional Hospital West Jutland