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Certain Steroids May Raise Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots

Certain Steroids May Raise Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots

Large study of glucocorticoid drugs did not find higher risk for former users, however

MONDAY, April 1, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- People who use drugs called glucocorticoids -- a class of steroids -- are at increased risk for blood clots in their veins, according to a new study.

Glucocorticoids are anti-inflammatory drugs widely used to treat conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers looked at data from nearly 39,000 people in Denmark who were diagnosed with blood clots between January 2005 and December 2011. The patients were classified as current, recent and former users of glucocorticoids. Current users were divided into new and continuing users.

The study by Sigrun Johannesdottir, of Aarhus University Hospital, the Netherlands, and colleagues was published online April 1 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The use of glucocorticoids was associated with increased risk of blood clots in current, new, continuing and recent users of the drugs, but not former users, according to journal news release.

While the study found an association between glucocorticoid use and blood clot risk, it did not prove cause-and-effect.

Blood clots can be dangerous and potentially deadly if they break free and travel to areas such as the brain, heart and lungs.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about blood clots (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001124.htm ).

SOURCE: JAMA Internal Medicine, news release, April 1, 2013