Pain killers may prevent heart disease

March 2nd, 2010 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 2 (IANS) Paracetamol, a pain reliever, has shown promising results as a preventive for heart disease, says new research.
It has also shown promise in preventing other diseases associated with free radicals. Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases.

“Essentially we have been investigating a new use for an old drug as an early preventative, and the results have been very promising,” says Brian Davies, professor at the Heart Research Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, who led the study.

The team has found paracetamol is able to prevent an enzyme called myeloperoxidase from producing hypochlorous acid, a highly reactive chemical that can damage tissues when produced in the wrong place, at the wrong time or at excessive levels.

Myeloperoxidase and hypochlorous acid levels are often used in patients as predictors of future heart disease.

The group made the discovery in model cell culture systems using paracetamol doses in

the range currently prescribed for pain relief, and are now moving into human plasma studies with confidence that they will observe similar positive results.

“To prevent the onset or progression of disease, the idea would be for doctors to

prescribe paracetamol to patients who are in high risk categories, display early signs of developing, or have high myeloperoxidase levels,” says Davies.

However the researchers warn people not to attempt self-medicating, as to obtain the

desired benefits patients would need to adhere to a properly tested medication programme, says a St Vincent’s release.

“This is an affordable, available pharmaceutical with few side-effects at normal doses

that has enormous potential benefit to those at risk of developing heart disease,” says

Davies. “In short, it’s ideal.”

The study was published in the current edition of Biochemical Pharmacology.

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