The NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs), such as aspirin, and the COX-2s, a newer generation of painkillers, increase the risk of heart flutter by up to 70 per cent.
Researchers from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark made the discovery when they profiled 32,602 patients diagnosed with the condition. They found that many were taking one of the over-the-counter painkillers; some had started taking them just two months before diagnosis while others were on long-term medication.
The risk is greatest among elderly patients, or people with chronic kidney disease or rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2011; 343: d3450).