Over the Counter Pain Meds May Be Messing With Your Health

ibuprofen
(Photo: Twitter / @thesun)

If you reach for ibuprofen or naproxen when a headache comes on, we've got bad news. 

According to Cosmopolitan, over the counter pain meds could be putting you at a much greater risk for heart attacks. 

Researchers from Canada, Finland, and Germany recently compared heart attack incidence and NSAID use among 446,763 people between the ages of 40 and 79 from Canada, the U.K., and Finland with a cumulative 61,460 heart attacks to examine specific risk factors linked to different NSAID formulas, dosage, and length and timing of treatment to see if they could find anything conclusive, and their discoveries were pretty frightening. 

First and foremost, the increased risk can occur in less than a week, and what's worse is that for ibuprofen users, the increased risk goes up to 48 percent. 

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"[It's] the largest investigation of its type, and its real world origin helps ensure that findings are broadly generalizable," the researchers wrote. 

Before you start spiraling into a panic, it's important to note that though the findings of the research were significant enough for people to take note and heed the warnings, the study did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and heart attacks. 

At the end of the day, taking the recommended dosage of over the counter painkillers to help ease a one-off headache or pain probably won't cause you to go into cardiac arrest, it's still a good idea to talk with your doctor about the best pain management options for you, especially if there is a history of heart attacks in your family or if you have other risk factors for heart attack. 

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