Ibuprofen and other common painkillers are linked to an increased risk of cardiac arrest, according to a new Danish study published in the European Heart Journal—Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. The authors say these drugs should be used with caution and that people with heart problems may want to avoid them.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are among the most commonly used drugs worldwide. Previous studies have linked them to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, heart failure and high blood pressure. Because some of them are sold over the counter, experts worry that people perceive them as safe and free of side effects.
The new study only looked at prescription NSAIDs, but in Denmark, these include ibuprofen and naproxen: two drugs that are available over the counter in the United States under the brand names Advil and Aleve. In Denmark, the only NSAID sold without a prescription is ibuprofen in 200 mg tablets, equal to a regular-strength Advil in the United States.