Common painkillers ibuprofen and diclofenac may increase the risk of developing heart problems for long term users, data suggests.
Ibuprofen may cause increase the risk of heart failure
The drugs are used most commonly by severe arthritis sufferers on a daily basis as they act as both a pain relief and an anti-inflammatory.
The study, which analysed more than 353,000 patient records, investigated the link between high doses of both drugs and was published in the Lancet.
Research from 2011 found that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increased the risk of heart and stroke but this latest study looked to investigate it further.
A team of scientists from the University of Oxford studied the patient records from 639 separate clinical trials to assess the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs in more detail than before.
The data showed that those who were smokers or overweight were more at risk and for every 1,000 on a daily dose of the drugs there were three more heart attacks, four more cases of heart failure and one death.
According to the British Heart Foundation there are around 103,000 heart attacks in the UK each year.
Lead research Professor Colin Baigent believed that whilst the increase per thousand patients was not high, people should be given more information to make a choice on their drug intake.
He said: “If you're a patient and you go and sit in front of your doctor and discuss it, you are the one who should be making the judgement about whether three per thousand per year is worth it to allow you, potentially, to go about your daily life.”
Baigent said that those who take it infrequently, for example to relieve headaches, should not be worried by the findings as it looked specifically at long-term, high-dosage use.
The study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation.
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