For a while it has been suspected that some painkillers, if taken regularly, can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. New data has now confirmed this.

Two commonly used painkillers, ibuprofen and diclofenac, are implicated. The study, published in The Lancet, also showed that the risk is higher in smokers and overweight people.

Many patients, especially those with severe arthritis, who take these tablets on a regular basis, should have a discussion with their GP’s, so that they are aware of the risk and can make an informed decision.

However it is important to realise that the study only looked at people taking high daily doses of these medications and not at over the counter doses, or at people taking short courses for say headaches

The risk of heart attacks in people on high dose regular treatment, increased from 8/1000 to 11/1000 per year. Although not a massive increase, it is still important for patients to be made aware of this to enable them to make an informed decision and to see if there are other treatment options available to them

My personal opinion is that there are always risk associated with any strong medication and you should always weigh up the benefit and the risks and discuss these risk with your doctor.