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A commonplace painkiller could increase the risk of heart attack or a stroke by 50 per cent, a major new study has found.

The researchers found that starting diclofenac during the study period was linked to increased rate of cardiovascular events such as heart failure, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and ischaemic stroke within a month compared with starting paracetamol, or other traditional NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Do you use Diclofenac? Diclofenac is a traditional NSAID that has similar selectivity for cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX 2) as COX 2 inhibitors, but the cardiovascular risks of diclofenac in comparison with other traditional NSAIDs have not been investigated through a randomized controlled trial.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used to alleviate pain.

They suggested diclofenac be prescribed with a warning label attached and banned as an over-the-counter drug in countries like the U.S. where it's available as such.

Experts have analyzed the cardiovascular risks that come together with diclofenac compared to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

"Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects", they write.

Study researcher Morten Schmidt, from Aarhus University Hospital, and colleagues looked at the medical records of over 6 million adults in Denmark spanning the period between 1996 and 2016.

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For those at moderate risk at the start, they found 7 extra cardiovascular events with diclofenac compared with ibuprofen or naproxen; 8 extra events compared with paracetamol; and 14 extra events compared with no NSAIDs.

The risk was apparent for both men and women of all ages and with low doses of diclofenac, the study in the BMJ reported.

However, researchers point out that, while the relative risk increased significantly, the overall risk was still pretty small.

The adverse event rate among diclofenac initiators increased 50 percent compared with non-medication users, 20 percent compared with paracetamol or ibuprofen initiators and 30 percent compared with naproxen initiators.

However, they add: "This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect".

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in June 2013 that the drug should not be used by people with serious underlying heart conditions-people who had suffered heart failure, heart disease or a stroke were advised to stop using it completely.

A new study warns that a popular NSAID pain reliever called diclofenac has been associated with an increased risk of serious heart health issues, including heart attacks.