Study: Ibuprofen poses major cardiac arrest risk

Ask anyone, and there's a good chance they've casually taken a tablet or two of ibuprofen to stave off a headache or other minor ailment. The general perception is that ibuprofen is a pretty safe drug, the small risk of stomach ulcers aside, and that's why it is available in large quantities for low prices over the counter. According to a new study, though, this medication is associated with big increases in cardiac arrest risk, so much so that some professionals are calling for it to be made prescription-only.

Such information comes from the European Society of Cardiology, which cites a newly published study in the European Heart Journal Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. Ibuprofen is a type of NSAID, which stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; this is a class of painkillers that are available and commonly used in countries all over the world without restriction.

According to the study, which looked at cases of cardiac arrest in Denmark and the patient's association with recent NSAID use, the use of any NSAID is correlated with a 31-percent cardiac arrest increase risk. Of these, the drug diclofenac is said to be more highly associated than ibuprofen at 50-percent versus 31-percent.

As a result, some researchers are calling for ibuprofen to be made a prescription drug, which would help ensure that patients only take it when needed, that they're made explicitly away of the potential risk, and that those with high risk factors — such as cardiovascular disease — can be directed to an alternative drug instead. As it stands, the public is advised to avoid taking more than 1200mg of ibuprofen per day.

SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology