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Ibuprofen Increases Risk of Heart Attacks: Doctors Warn Against Abuse of Common Painkillers

A common over-the-counter painkiller is found to have profound effects on heart health. A study led by researchers from Denmark found that taking too much ibuprofen is associated with a 31% increased risk of a heart attack. Due to this, authorities have called for restrictions on the sale of the painkiller.


heart attack

One of the side effects of too many painkillers is increased risk of heart attack, according to the study. (PHOTO: Getty Images)


A Painkiller That Might Cause Heart Attack

According to the European Society of Cardiology, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most commonly used painkillers in the world, including ibuprofen.

Study author Professor Gunnar H. Gislason, a professor of cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Denmark said that allowing the purchase of these drugs without prescription or restrictions sends a message to the public that these drugs are safe. However, previous studies have shown that they are related to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The research published in the March issue of European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy 1 revealed that the use of any NSAIDs is linked to a 31% increase of having heart attacks, while Diclofenac is associated with 50% increased risk as well. On the other hand, naproxen, celecoxib, and rofecoxib were not linked to myocardial infarction due to the low number of events.

Professor Gislason said that the findings showed that NSAIDs are not completely harmless as these commonly-used painkillers are associated with a significantly increased risk of cardiac arrest. Therefore, people with cardiovascular disease or risk factors should avoid these drugs and the public should use them with caution.

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How to Prevent Abuse of Painkillers

According to Daily Express, UK’s National Health Service (NHS) advised that ibuprofen and other types of NSAIDs should be taken with the lowest dose for the shortest time. More so, avoid using it for more than 10, unless the doctor prescribes it.

They added that gel, mouse, or spray should not be used for more than two weeks without talking to a doctor. They noted that ibuprofen tablets and capsules could be taken with food or drinks to reduce having an upset stomach because it is important not to take the medicine with an empty stomach.

Ibuprofen is the generic name of the painkiller but it is well-known in brands, like Nurofen, Brufen, Calprofen (syrup), and the gel-types are known in the brand names of Ibugel, Ibuleve v, and Fenbid.

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