There have been fresh calls for restrictions on the sale of the painkiller ibuprofen after another study found NSAIDs can heightens the risk of cardiac arrest.
Taking the over-the-counter drug, Ibuprofen, has been associated with a 31% increased risk of a cardiac event, with the figure rising to 50% for diclofenac, researchers in Denmark have found.
Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), presented an even higher risk, according to the findings published on Wednesday in the European Heart Journal.
The study followed almost 29,000 patients who suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2010 and found that use of any NSAID raised the likelihood of cardiac arrest.
Last September a study in British Medical Journal found they were linked to an increased risk of heart failure and previous studies have linked the drugs to abnormal heart rhythm and an increased risk stroke if taken regularly.
Prof Gunnar Gislason of the University of Copenhagen, who led the study, called for tighter controls on the sale of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. He said: “Allowing these drugs to be purchased without a prescription, and without any advice or restrictions, sends a message to the public that they must be safe. The findings are a stark reminder that NSAIDs are not harmless. Diclofenac and ibuprofen, both commonly used drugs, were associated with significantly increased risk of cardiac arrest”.