Your Everyday Painkillers May Be Linked To Higher Chance Of Heart Attack

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Some common pain relievers may increase the risk of cardiac arrest, according to a new study from Denmark.

In the study, researchers found a link between the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — including ibuprofen  — and an increased risk of cardiac arrest, which is when the heart suddenly stops beating. The findings add to those of previous research, which has also found a link between NSAID use and a higher risk of heart problems, including heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. The new study is the first to look specifically at the impact of NSAIDs on cardiac-arrest risk.

“The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless,” study author Dr. Gunnar Gislason, a professor of cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, said in a statement. “People should be aware of the link so that they can balance the benefits of taking one of these drugs against the risks, the researchers said. “NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication,” Gislason said.

The researchers recommended that people not take more than 1,200 milligrams of ibuprofen (or six 200-mg tablets) per day.

In addition, the study obtained information only about NSAIDs that people took as prescription drugs, so the researchers don’t know whether some people were taking over-the-counter NSAIDs. (In Denmark, ibuprofen is the only NSAID sold over the counter.)

The study is published in the March issue of European Heart Journal-Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.

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