New study links common painkillers to increased risk of heart attack

New study links common painkillers to increased risk of heart attack

According to a new study, there is a notable link between over-the-counter doses of common painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and an increased risk of heart attack.

An international team of researchers analyzed data from 446,763 people who were relying on NSAIDs like ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen and celecoxib. They found that the likelihood of suffering a heart attack increased by an average of 20 per cent to 50 per cent among those people as compared with others who were not taking the drugs.

They were surprised to find that the level of risk jumped as early as 1 week into the use of NSAIDs at any dose, and the risk jumped further within the first month.

Dr. Michèle Bally of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center said, “We found that all common NSAIDs shared a heightened risk of heart attack. There is a perception that naproxen has the lowest cardiovascular risk (among the NSAIDs), but that's not true.”

NSAIDs includes diclofenac, ibuprofen, celecoxib and naproxen, are available over-the-counter or through prescription for higher doses to provide relief from pain or fever stemming from various causes, including back pain, menstrual cramps and flu.

The researchers reported their alarming findings in the most recent edition of the BMJ.