Taking ibuprofen to ease a headache may seem like no big deal, but Danish researchers caution against overdoing it. A study in the European Heart Journal suggests that ibuprofen, one of the most popular painkillers, raises a person's risk of cardiac arrest by 31%.
Other types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, also were linked to an increased risk of heart trouble, per a news release. The finding is based on data from 29,000 people who suffered a cardiac arrest in Denmark between 2001 and 2010. Of those, about 3,400 had taken a NSAID in the 30 days preceding it. The biggest increase in risk, at 50%, was seen with the NSAID diclofenac.
“The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless,” says study author Gunnar Gislason of the University of Copenhagen, who thinks the drugs are too easily available as over-the-counter treatments.
The researchers say people should not take more than 1,200mg of ibuprofen per day, reports Live Science, which amounts to six 200mg-pills. The FDA has previously warned that people with heart disease or high blood pressure should consult their doctors before taking NSAIDS, because of earlier research that also raised heart concerns.