New research from Aarhus University in Denmark has shown that a type of common painkillers have potentially dangerous side effects on the heart. These painkillers, which belong to a group of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been known for several years to increase the risk of heart attacks.
Each year, more than 15 per cent of the Western world are prescribed NSAIDs, a number that is increasing with age. The new study, published in European Heart Journal, highlights the potential risks of over-prescribing painkillers to patients with pre-existing heart conditions.
One of the paper’s authors, Morten Schmidt, said: “This is worrying, because these older types of medicine are frequently used throughout the western world and in many countries available without prescription.”
It was found that in Denmark, where the study was undertaken, up to 40 per cent of patients with heart failure are regularly prescribed NSAIDs.
Schmidt continued: “It’s often the case that paracetamol, physiotherapy, or mild opioids would be better for the patients. Of course, the recommendations that have been introduced following our study and its review of the heart-related risks are a big step in the right direction in relation to patient safety”.