Ibuprofen Can Raise Your Risk of a Heart Attack by 25 per Cent

Daily Mail (London), June 10, 2005 | Go to article overview

Ibuprofen Can Raise Your Risk of a Heart Attack by 25 per Cent


Byline: JENNY HOPE

DOCTORS warn today that the painkiller ibuprofen can raise the risk of having a heart attack.

A study by British researchers suggests regular use of the drug increases the chances of an attack by almost a quarter.

Many of the nine million arthritis patients who visit a GP every year use it regularly to counter the pain of their condition.

Other painkillers in the same family of anti- inflammatory drugs - used by millions of arthritis patients - are even more hazardous, raising the risk by up to 55 per cent, according to the study.

Researcher Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, who is also a GP, said the findings meant there should be an investigation into the safety of all this group of painkillers.

Ibuprofen is one of the most popular over-the-counter painkillers available from pharmacists and supermarkets - with 46 tons sold here each year. Sales of Nurofen, one of the favourite brands, have risen 15 per cent in the past year.

'We have identified an increasing risk, which rises with the dosage of ibuprofen and the time it is used,' said Professor Hippisley-Cox. 'We want to see this study followed up.' However, she did not recommend that people stop taking it.

The latest study was undertaken after concern raised last year over a range of anti-inflammatory drugs called Cox-2s used by 1.4 million Britons. A safety review by European regulators found these painkillers were linked with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and those at high risk were advised not to take them.

The research - published in the British Medical Journal - identified 9,218 patients aged 25 to 100 in England, Scotland and Wales who had suffered a heart attack for the first time during a four-year period.

Researchers looked at whether they had been prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, Celebrex (celecoxib) and Vioxx (rofecoxib).

They also took into account risk factors for heart attack such as age, obesity and smoking, as well as looking at whether there was existing heart disease. Patients taking NSAIDs in the three months before their heart attack had a greater risk than those who had not taken the drugs for three years.

The results showed the risk of heart attack increased by 24 per cent in those taking ibuprofen and by 55 per cent in those on diclofenac.

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