The ‘popular’ painkiller may ‘triple’ the risk of stroke, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
PAINKILLERS are over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications that are used to treat a variety of ailments, including period pain and toothaches.
But, according to research, higher doses of one painkiller can triple the risk of stroke.
Pain relievers like paracetamol and ibuprofen are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world.
Because of their widespread use, the drugs are widely regarded as risk-free.
The drug, however, can cause potentially fatal complications at higher doses.
Ibuprofen was linked to a threefold increased risk of stroke in one study published in the British Medical Journal.
Ibuprofen is an “everyday painkiller for a variety of aches and pains, including back pain, period pain, and toothache,” according to the NHS.
“It also helps with inflammation, such as sprains and strains, as well as arthritis pain.”
The release of chemicals known as prostaglandins causes inflammation, pain, and fever in the body.
Ibuprofen reduces prostaglandin levels by inhibiting the enzyme that produces them.
‘Painkillers cause more harm than good,’ according to a medical watchdog.
When taken in small doses, the safety profile of NSAIDs is excellent.
However, there is growing evidence that higher doses of the drugs may cause problems.
Researchers in one study published in the BMJ set out to look into the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to see if they were linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.
“Our study provides the best available evidence on the safety of this class of drugs,” the researchers wrote in their paper.
“While there is still some uncertainty, there is little evidence to suggest that any of the drugs under investigation are cardiovascularly safe.”
COX-2 inhibitors, a new generation of anti-inflammatory drugs, were also studied.
Researchers analyzed randomised control trials comparing NSAID with other anti-inflammatory pills or placebo to assess the effects of both drugs.
Thirty-one trials were completed, involving 116,429 patients.
When compared to placebo, rofecoxib and lumiracoxib were linked to a twofold increased risk of heart attack.
In contrast, ibuprofen was linked to a three-fold increase in the risk of stroke.
Furthermore, diclofenac nearly tripled the risk, while etoricoxib and diclofenac were linked to a fourfold increase in the risk of cardiovascular death.
There were 554 heart attacks and 377 strokes in total.
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