BALTIMORE (WJZ) — People who pop over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen regularly could face a higher risk of heart attack, according to a new study.
Those drugs, categorized as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), are the active ingredients in brands like Advil, Aleve, Midol and Motrin.
The study, published in The BMJ medical journal, found that all commonly used NSAIDs were associated with this increased risk.
For the study, a group of researchers reviewed studies from health care databases in Canada, Finland and the United Kingdom.
Altogether, they analyzed data on 446,763 people, of whom 61,460 had a heart attack.
They found that heightened risk of heart attack occurred as early as in the first week of taking an NSAID, and the risk increased along with higher dosages. a 20 to 50 percent increase in risk of a heart attack when using NSAIDs compared with not using these medications.
“These numbers do not mean that a person has a 20 to 50 percent risk of having a heart attack after taking those drugs,” lead researcher Michèle Bally told CBS News.
The absolute risk is very small, and varies based on other risk factors.
She did say, though, that people taking these drugs for chronic pain may want to consider whether the benefit of increasing the dose for better relief outweighs a possible increased risk of heart attack.