“Harmless” Painkillers Like Ibuprofen Now Linked to Huge Increase in Risk of Sudden Heart Attack

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A new study linked non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac with an increase in cardiac arrest. Research data showed painkiller use was linked to a 31% higher risk of cardiac arrest in patients. NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac were associated with increased odds of cardiac arrest, according to a recent study. Researchers at the Copenhagen University in Denmark examined patient data from the Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry and identified 3, 376 patients who took a painkiller 30 days before the health incident. Ibuprofen was the most commonly used painkiller in this cohort at 51 percent, followed by diclofenac at 22 percent. Research data showed painkiller use was linked to a 31 percent higher risk of cardiac arrest in patients. In particular, ibuprofen and diclofenac were associated with a 31 percent and 50 percent increased odds of cardiac arrest, respectively.

“Allowing these drugs to be purchased without a prescription, and without any advice or restrictions, sends a message to the public that they must be safe. The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless. Diclofenac and ibuprofen, both commonly used drugs, were associated with significantly increased risk of cardiac arrest. NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication. They should probably be avoided in patients with cardiovascular disease or many cardiovascular risk factors,” said Cardiology Professor Gunnar H. Gislason.

The results were published in the journal Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.

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