Research has shown that ¼ of the British adult population has been regularly taken by the population for the last five years. However recent research has shown that taking a common kind of painkiller such as ibuprofen can lead to an increased risk of heart failure, at times up to 100% increment. Heart failure or myocardial infarction is common in the UK with over 190,000 people a year going to hospital due to heart attacks. The five nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have shown that they could have an impact in one week of usage, which could potentially lead to a higher risk of heart attack. Studies showed that the percentage chance of a heart attack varied depending on the individual and in some circumstances the heart attack was around about 50% greater at times. The study that took place was observational and the cause and effect are yet to be established, the study carried out research on 10 million users mainly from Europe and compared them to those who did not take the drugs. This study builds on from previous studies that have suggested NSAIDs could increase the risk of heart disease.
BMJ published the research and its results suggested that the risk of heart attack associated with NSAID use was greatest with higher doses and during the first month of use. Over a longer period, the treatment did not increase the risk; the researchers have advised that the use of NSAIDs is used as short as possible. Of the NSAIDs, they found that rofecoxib increased the risk by more than 100% and both ibuprofen and naproxen increased risk by 75%, the time period at which the risk increases is unknown. The researchers have urged for there to be more public awareness around the subject and that people must be advised of other alternative treatments. The study itself however failed to exclude external influencing factors, and that the findings are still relatively a small risk. Due to the fact that NSAIDs are effective in offering short-term relief from pain, and that the decision to prescribe them should be done based on a patient’s individual circumstances and medical history, thus reducing the risk itself. Despite this it is still an area that requires more research and the safety and implications of NSAIDs need to be identified.