NSAIDs for Cold or Flu May Increase Heart Risk
Many people reach for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—NSAIDs—like ibuprofen to reduce cold symptoms such as fever and headache. Though this practice may seem harmless, some research suggests there may be a link between taking NSAIDs for acute respiratory infections and an increased risk for heart attack.
Researchers analyzed data from 9,793 patients hospitalized for heart attacks from 2007 to 2011. They assessed heart attack risk in four situations: during a respiratory infection, during NSAID use, with NSAID use during a respiratory infection, and with no exposure to NSAIDs or respiratory infection.
According to researchers, NSAID use alone was associated with a 1.5 times higher risk for heart attack compared with no respiratory infection or NSAID use, and acute respiratory infection alone was associated with a 2.7 times higher heart attack risk. NSAID use during a respiratory infection was associated with a 3.4 times higher risk for heart attack and intravenous NSAID use during treatment for a respiratory infection resulted in a 7.2 times higher heart attack risk.
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