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Painkillers triple risk of heart attack when you have a cold

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The risk rises more than three times – and it’s seven times more likely if you’re given the medication intravenously.

Your risk of suffering a heart attack is higher when you have a cold or flu anyway – but taking an NSAID (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug) to relieve symptoms raises the risk again. The painkillers are some of the most commonly used on the market, and include aspirin and ibuprofen, which can be purchased without a prescription.

Researchers reckon the drugs increase the chances of a heart attack 3.4 times, and the risk is even higher – at 7.2 times – if the drug is given intravenously. On its own, having a cold raises the risk of a heart attack 2.7 times.

Researchers from the National Taiwan University Hospital looked at the records of 10,000 heart patients to assess if the common cold and the NSAIDs increase the risk of a heart attack.

People should be aware of the impact that NSAIDs have on heart attack risk, and should stop taking the painkillers when they have a cold or flu, the researchers say.

(Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2017; doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiw603)

Article Topics: paracetamol
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