According to a major study published in the British Medical Journal, taking common painkillers such as ibuprofen increases a person’s risk of heart failure.
Researchers at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy found that people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) were 20 percent more likely on average to be admitted to hospital with heart failure. The finding also show the risk of heart failure increased by 18 percent if inuprofen is taken regularly.
For people who use NSAIDs daily for a year or more doubled their risk for heart failure compared to people who were not taking them at all.
“This study offers further evidence that the most frequently used individual traditional painkillers are associated with an increased risk of hospital admission for heart failure. Moreover, the risk seems to vary between drugs and according to the dose,” said lead author Dr Giovanni Corrao.
British experts said it was unlikely that painkillers could cause problems in people with healthy hearts, but NSAID’s may unmask heart failure due to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, obesity and consumption of alcohol.
Helen Williams, a consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said “The study reinforces the need to carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of using NSAIDs. Measures to help reduce risk include using medicines with a lower risk of cardiovascular problems, minimizing the prescribed dose to the lowest dose that is effective and where possible, limiting the length of time the patient takes the medicine.”
The findings from this study are based on almost 10 million painkiller users from Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
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