If pain is bad, then pain relief must be good, right? Not exactly. The correct answer is “maybe, depending on how many and which drugs are used to relieve the pain.” Writing in the New York Times, Roni Caryn Rabin reports on a study of detailed case histories of more than 350,000 patients that found that people who take high doses of Nsaids daily increase their cardiovascular risk by as much as a third. The one exception, writes Rabin, is naproxen, which may actually have a protective effect against heart attacks. The study revealed that Diclofenac and COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib, marketed as Celebrex, account for three heart attacks and strokes a year on average, among 1,000 patients taking high doses regularly. Ibuprofen also looks troubling: taken at daily doses of 2,400 milligrams, it was shown to significantly raised heart attack risk, possibly doubling it. The Times points out that data about ibuprofen is scant, making it difficult to precisely assess the risk. The safest pain reliever, according to study results, appears to be naproxen, sold as Aleve. Read more in the New York Times.