Common pain relievers – NSAIDs – may increase heart attack risk when people have severe colds and flu

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cold, flu, NSAIDs, heart attack, arthritis magazine, arthritis information, arthritis digestWidely used pain relievers may increase the risk of heart attack when used during respiratory infections, experts warn in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Healthcare professionals and patients should be careful when prescribing or taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease symptoms of acute respiratory infections.

Researchers looked at data from around 10,000 people over seven years who were hospitalised for a heart attack.

They found people were more likely to have a heart attack if they had respiratory illness and were taking NSAIDs.

“Physicians should be aware that the use of NSAIDs during an acute respiratory infection might further increase the risk of a heart attack,” explains study author Dr Cheng-Chung Fang, who suggests that people seeking relief from cold and flu symptoms should consult with their doctor before using NSAIDs.

The study’s findings do suggest an association between NSAID use, acute respiratory infections, and increased heart attack risk, but do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. More research is needed.

Click here to read the original research.

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