Elderly people are not increasing their risk of heart attacks if they take the painkiller ibuprofen, according to scientists.
Previous research linked the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to increased chances of heart disease. However, a large-scale study in Australia discovered the overall effect of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is neutral when it comes to heart disease.
The study actually uncovered an unexplained link between the use of the drugs and a reduction in the risk of dying from any cause.
The findings were based on a study that looked at a nationwide hospital admission and pharmacy prescription database of 320,000 elderly Australians.
Researchers looked at anti-inflammatory drugs which, with the exception of ibuprofen, generally require a prescription.
The research was led by Professor Arduino Mangoni, who recently joined the University of Aberdeen from Flinders University in Adelaide. He said: “Our study has demonstrated that the use of NSAIDs has overall a neutral effect on the risk of heart disease in a large elderly population with multiple co-existing medical conditions.”
The study is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.