There have been fresh calls for restrictions on the sale of the painkiller ibuprofen after another study found it heightens the risk of cardiac arrest. Danish researchers have found that taking the over-the-counter drug was associated with a 31 per cent increased risk, Other medicines from the same group of painkillers, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, presented an even higher risk, according to the findings published in the European Heart Journal. Diclofenac, available over the counter in the UK until 2015 and still taken on prescription, raised the risk by 50 per cent. Lead researcher, Prof. Gunnar Gislason of the University of Copenhagen, has called for tighter controls on the sale of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, saying that allowing these drugs to be purchased without a prescription, and without any advice or restrictions, sends a message to the public that they (drugs) 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.” The findings are the latest to raise alarm about the use of NSAIDs. Last September, a study in British Medical Journal found the drugs were linked to an increased risk of heart failure. Previous studies have linked the drugs to abnormal heart rhythm which can cause heart failure and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke if taken regularly. Gislason has urged people with heart problems to avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. “NSAIDs should be used with caution and for a valid indication. They should probably be avoided in patients with cardiovascular disease or many cardiovascular risk factors. “I don’t think these drugs should be sold in supermarkets or petrol stations where there is no professional advice on how to use them.” Gislason has suggested they should only be taken after consulting a doctor. “Over-the-counter NSAIDs should only be available at pharmacies, in limited quantities and in low doses,” he said.

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