A common type of painkiller linked to an increased risk of heart failure was prescribed by doctors in Huddersfield more than 75,000 times last year.
A recent study from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy found that people taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increased the risk of being taken to hospital with heart failure by almost 20%.
While these include common over-the-counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen, the study was carried out among people who were taking prescribed NSAIDs.
These are usually prescribed for long-term conditions such as backache or arthritis.
NSAIDs were prescribed a total of 78,708 times by doctors in Huddersfield, leaving a considerable number of people potentially at greater risk of heart failure.
Across West Yorkshire as a whole, they were prescribed 690,690 times.
However, it’s important to note that people in the study admitted to hospital with heart failure tended to be older, with an average age of 77, so the findings are most relevant to elderly patients.
The risk was also highest for people taking very high daily doses so you’re unlikely to get heart failure as a result of taking over-the-counter ibuprofen for a couple of days.
That being said, over-the-counter NSAIDs might still pose a risk if they are inappropriately overused. You should be on the lowest dose possible of NSAIDs for the shortest possible time.