Ibuprofen painkillers link to heart failure: should you worry?


A study involving 10 million people published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has linked common painkillers such as ibuprofen to an increased risk of heart failure.

The study found that the use of anti-inflammatory painkillers, which are also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are commonly used to alleviate pain and inflammation, could increase a person's relative risk of being admitted to hospital with heart failure by almost 20%.

Overall, 92,163 hospital admissions for heart failure were identified among the group in the study.

The team of researchers led by Giovanni Corrao at the University at the University of Milano-Bicocca examined the medical records of nearly 10 million NSAID users in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.

Since most people in the study were older, aged 77 on average, - and those on NSAIDs were, in general, in poorer health - UK experts said the findings had very little relevance for most under-65s but may be a concern for elderly patients.

The researchers also emphasised that the study was observational, meaning that it did not benefit from the controlled conditions of an experiment and therefore they could not draw any firm conclusions about cause and effect

News sources:

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37496348

2. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/painkillers-increase-risk-of-heart-failure-experts-study-a7335736.html

3. http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1436405/painkillers-linked-heart-failure-study

4. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/28/common-painkillers-linked-to-increase-risk-of-heart-failure-bmj-finds