Ibuprofen may increase risk of heart problems

The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen is a habit present in the lives of many Brazilians, especially those who suffer from headaches , back and joints. Despite the quick relief from these pains, these anti-inflammatories are not harmless.

Research published in the British Medical Journal recently shows that regular use of this type of medication is linked to an increased risk of heart failure.

The study followed 10 million users of anti-inflammatory drugs from four European countries: Holland, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. In this group, formed by people who started treatment between 2000 and 2010, there were a total of 92,163 hospitalizations for heart failure over the years.

Using 27 different types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the researchers compared the use of these drugs with the rates of heart problems.

What they found is that people who took such anti-inflammatory drugs in the last 14 days of the survey were 19% more likely to be hospitalized for heart failure than people who had used these drugs in the past.

Of all 27 anti-inflammatory drugs, the ones that stood out the most in this relationship were ibuprofen, naproxen , diclofenac , indomethacin , ketorolac trometamol , nimesulide and piroxicam .

The concern was greater with the selective COX-2 inhibitors, etoricoxib and rofecoxib, as the risk of heart problems with these types of anti-inflammatory drugs was already known. However, what the research reveals is that even common and traditional anti-inflammatory drugs are at risk, even if the mechanism for pain relief is different.

The chances of hospitalization varied between 16% with naproxen and 83% with trometamol ketorolac, showing that different compounds may have more or less influence. The time of use and the dose taken also influence these rates.

The risks are even greater for those who already have heart problems or predisposition to develop them, as well as in older people, especially in old age.

One of the biggest problems related to anti-inflammatory drugs is the lack of information. Many users believe that, because they are sold without prescription, they are drugs that do not have serious side effects and, therefore, they use the drugs in an inconsequential way.

In a BBC Radio 4 program, Helen Williams, a pharmaceutical consultant for cardiovascular disease at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said it is important to use anti-inflammatory drugs for the right reasons.

“Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, so if you have damaged your muscles in a place where you may have inflammation, ibuprofen may be appropriate,” said the pharmacist. “If you experience headaches, there is unlikely to be inflamed tissue, so a paracetamol is fine,” he added.


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

If you experience headaches, joints or back pain frequently, consult your doctor, as he will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment.