AS PART of a new study, researchers identified all patients who suffered a cardiac arrest in Denmark between 2001 and 2010.
A person suffering a cardiac arrest will pass out unconscious after the electrical fault suddenly stops the heart beating.
It differs from a heart attack, where a blockage or clot stops oxygenated blood reaching the heart, causing it to affect the heart muscle.
The researchers also looked at all prescriptions for NSAIDS in Danish pharmacies since 1995.
These included the non-selective NSAIDS diclofenac, naproxen and ibuprofen, as well as COX-2 selective inhibitors, rofecoxib and celecoxib.
NSAIDs were linked to a 31 per cent greater risk of cardiac arrest, the findings, published in the European Heart Journal Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, showed.
But the researchers found ibuprofen – the most commonly used of the drugs – increased the risk of cardiac arrest by 50 per cent.
And diclofenac – marketed under the brand name Voltaren – the second most common NSAID used, had a 31 per cent increased risk.
Professor Gunnar Gislason, a cardiology prof at Copenhagen University Hosptial Gentofte, said people should only take the drug when absolutely necessary and should be cautious, adding that patients with cardiovascular disease or other heart problems should avoid them altogether.
‘Our study adds to the evidence about the adverse cardiovascular effects of NSAIDs and confirms that they should be taken seriously, and used only after consulting a healthcare professional.’ he warned.
NSAIDS are among the most commonly used drugs across the world, while some do require a prescription, others like ibuprofen, don’t.
Experts have warned the drugs should not be available in supermarkets or petrol stations, and should be given out on prescription by a doctor.
He said people should never take more than 1,200mg of ibuprofen a day.
‘Naproxen is probably the safest NSAID and we can take up to 500mg a day,’ he added.
The most important message from this new evidence is to discuss taking these painkillers with your GP. Although not all NSAIDs were found to be associated with increased risk of cardiac arrest, discussion with your doctor is imperative to make an informed choice about the best treatment for you.