Ibuprofen could treble stroke risk

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

LONDON - Large regular doses of ibuprofen and similar painkillers could treble the risk of stroke and up the likelihood of heart attacks, scientists warn.

Researchers have found that high doses of ibuprofen may carry health risks similar to painkillers withdrawn from the market several years ago on safety grounds.

Up to eight million Britons are prescribed so-called anti-inflammatory drugs every year, usually to combat arthritis or back pain, the British Medical Journal reports.

Doctors stress that stroke and heart risks only exist for those taking high doses of ibuprofen over long periods and that there is no danger in the odd pill for a headache, according to the Daily Mail.

Researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland looked at more than 31 clinical trials involving 116,429 patients.

They had each taken one of seven commonly-used painkillers. The study found that those who had taken ibuprofen over a long period of time were almost three times as likely to suffer a stroke.

Professor Peter Jni of the University of Bern said: “We looked at patients taking these drugs three to four times a day.”

“In terms of stroke, ibuprofen doesn’t look very good. If I was in chronic pain, I would not take it as the risks are just too high. I would look at the different options.”

The painkiller was also shown to raise significantly the risk of heart attacks and deaths caused by heart disease.

Filed under: Heart Disease, Medicine, World, arthritis

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