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Common Painkillers Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Attack

A widely used family of over-the-counter painkillers may increase the risk of having a heart attack, a new study suggests.

According to researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can raise the risk of heart attacks “as early as in the first week of use and especially within the first month of taking high doses of such medication.”

Commonly used painkillers such as Motrin, Advil and Aleve might increase your risk for heart attack, even in the first week of use, a new study suggests.

#1 A new study suggests a common type of over-the-counter painkiller can increase risk of heart attack.

A widely used family of over-the-counter painkillers may increase the risk of having a heart attack, a new study suggests.

According to researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can raise the risk of heart attacks “as early as in the first week of use and especially within the first month of taking high doses of such medication.”

Common forms of NSAIDs include diclofenac, ibuprofen and naproxen.

#2

For most people, however, this represents only a small increased risk — about 1 percent a year, the researchers said.

Still, “from the viewpoint of public health, even small increases in risk of heart attack are important because use of NSAIDs is so widespread,” said lead researcher Michele Bally. She’s an epidemiologist at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center.

#3

Prior studies had pointed to an increase in heart attack risk from using NSAIDs, but this study looked at timing, dose and the duration of taking the medicine.

For the study, the researchers looked at past studies on NSAIDs from Canada, Finland and the United Kingdom. there were 446,763 people studied, and 61,460 had a heart attack.

“The study found that taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of heart attack,” researchers said in a statement.

#4

In the study an international team of scientists analysed data from 446,763 people to try to understand when heart problems might arise.

They focused on people prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib and naproxen) by doctors rather than those who bought the painkillers over the counter.

#5 ‘Raise awareness’

Studying the data from Canada, Finland and the UK, researchers suggest taking these Nsaid painkillers to treat pain and inflammation could raise the risk of heart attacks even in the first week of use.

And the risk was seen especially in the first month when people were taking high doses (for example more than 1200mg of ibuprofen a day) .

But scientists say there are a number of factors that make it difficult to be absolutely certain of the link.