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Not As Harmless As We Thought? Common Painkillers Such As Ibuprofen Linked To Cardiac Arrest [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 17, 2017 07:22 AM EDT

Over-the-counter painkillers may not be as safe as people think. A study shows commonly used drugs such as Ibuprofen and Diclofenac are linked to cardiac arrest.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark found that taking Ibuprofen increases one's risk of cardiac arrest by up to 31 percent. Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). It is normally used for fever, arthritis and other short-term pains such as headaches and menstrual cramps.

The Food and Drug Administration warns in its medical guide for NSAIDs that this type of medicine increases the chance of heart attack or stroke with prolonged use and in people with a history of heart disease.

Cardiac arrest is deadlier than a heart attack. Where blockage to blood flow occurs in a heart attack, the heart stops beating as a whole in sudden cardiac arrest. The survival rate is lower in the latter.

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases of 28,947 patients between 2001 and 2010 were analyzed along with their drug use 30 days before the cardiac arrest and the preceding 30 days when no cardiac arrest occurred. Among the patients, 3,376 were treated with an NSAID 30 days prior to the event.

The study published in the European Heart Journal - Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy showed that Diclofenac was linked to a 50 percent increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest and Ibuprofen, 31 percent. Naproxen, celecoxib and rofecoxib did not appear to increase the risk. Professor Gislason dissuaded the public from taking Diclofenac, describing it as the riskiest among the NSAIDs. Naproxen seemed to be the safest, the professor added.

Dr. Mike Knapton from the British Heart Foundation said that patients should talk with their doctors about their options for treating their conditions. They should get information about the benefits and side effects of drugs from their physicians, the Daily Mail reported. It is also important to discuss the use of other NSAIDs even though they were cleared of association with cardiac arrest by the study.

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