Ibuprofen Can Increase Heart Attack Risk, Study Finds

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are very commonly used to relieve aches and pains. Today, millions of people will take Ibuprofen, which is one type of NSAID sold in low doses as an over-the-counter pain medication. Today, many doctors will write prescriptions for higher-dose ibuprofen or other NSAIDs such as diclofenac. Today, pharmacists will sell these drugs, in addition to coxibs, a new generation of anti-inflammatory drugs that were created when previous research revealed that traditional NSAIDs increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems.

However, a new study has uncovered the possible harm in using both NSAIDs and coxibs. Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that both drug types threaten overall health. Their findings suggest that patients taking them have an increased risk of heart attack.

The study authors analyzed data from 353,000 patient records. They found that about three in every 1,000 people who take high doses of NSAIDs for one year will have an avoidable heart attack. They also estimated that one of these individuals will die as a result of this avoidable heart attack.

In a press statement reported in the New York Daily News, the authors of the study also said that they discovered that all NSAIDs double the risk of heart failure and make the risk of upper gastrointestinal problems, such as bleeding ulcers, two to four times more likely.

The increased risk of heart attack rose in proportion to each patient's underlying risks. So, those with a previous history of heart disease, those with high blood pressure, and patients with high cholesterol were even more likely to have a heart attack while taking high doses of NSAIDs.

While the study did not reveal the reason that the drugs up the chance of heart attack, Dr. Marie Griffin of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center said in an analysis of the findings that it is likely because NSAIDs increase likelihood of clotting. She also pointed out that the drugs increase blood pressure.

The study pinpointed high dosage to be especially risky. A high dose of ibuprofen is about 2,400 milligrams per day. For diclofenac, a high dose is considered about 150 milligrams a day. These dosages generally require a prescription.

The study authors concluded with the suggestion that patients should seek alternative pain relief. Chiropractic has been shown to be effective at relieving aches and pains throughout the body, and is a safe and natural alternative from harmful medications. Why take Advil or ask your doctor for a prescription? Eliminate the risks of side effects, improve your overall health rather than harm it, and visit a doctor of chiropractic instead.


Bhala N, Emberson J, et al. Vascular and upper gastrointestinal effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: meta-analyses of individual participant data from randomised trials. The Lancet 30 May 2013 (online); doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60900-9.

Griffin M. High-dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatories: painful choices. The Lancet 30 May 2013 (online); doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61128-9.

New York Daily News. High doses of common pain drugs NSAIDs can cause heart attack: study. www.nydailynews.com; May 30, 2013.