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Popular Painkiller Could Double the Chance of Heart Attack

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A regularly prescribed painkiller has been found to significantly raise the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advises those taking diclofenac to continue taking the drug but visit their GP if they are concerned.

Not only was Diclofenac prescribed for conditions such as arthritis and back pain up to 6m times last year, it is readily available over the counter. Yet scientists have discovered the risk of serious cardiac illnesses could be increased by up to 40% compared to those who don’t take it according to the study published in Plos Medicine.

Researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto and the Hull York Medical School, England reviewed 51 world wide studies looking at the effects of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Dr Patricia McGettigan, lead researcher stated that, “the cardiovascular risk is well described but often overlooked.” She suggests that being knowing the balance between risk and benefit of each NSAID for each individual patient is vital.

A spokesperson for MHRA added, “The safety of all NSAIDs have been carefully evaluated by the MHRA specifically looking at the risk of gastrointestinal and heart problems.”

“To minimise the risk of side effects all NSAIDs should be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period necessary to control symptoms.”

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