Two medications widely prescribed to emphysema and chronic bronchitis sufferers significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, USA Today reports. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 53% increased risk of heart attacks and an 80% increased risk of cardiovascular death among patients taking tiotropium or ipatropium, sold as Spiriva and Atrovent.
For every 40 people treated with one of the drugs, there was one extra death. "It's a big drug, so it's affecting a large number of people," said the study's co-author. Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last week found that patients taking ipatropium had a 34% increased risk of heart attacks compared to patients using other drugs.