Common painkillers such as ibuprofen used by millions of people in the UK are linked to an increased risk of heart failure, experts have said.
Non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could increase the risk of being admitted to hospital. Previous studies have linked the drugs to abnormal heart rhythm – which can cause heart failure – and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke if taken regularly.
The drugs, together with a subgroup of anti-inflammatories known as selective COX-2 inhibitors, are used to control pain and inflammation and are commonly taken by people with arthritis. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, used data for almost 10 million NSAIDs users from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, who started treatment between 2000 and 2010. Overall, 92,163 hospital admissions for heart failure were identified among the group.
The study found that people who had taken any NSAID in the previous 14 days had a 19% increased risk of hospital admission for heart failure compared with people who had used NSAIDs at any point in the past. The BMJ research was led by a team from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy.