Taking common painkillers can raise heart attack risk by half after just one day, a major study warns. Experts looked at nearly 450,000 adults given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They include popular over-the-counter pills such as ibuprofen, and prescription-only drugs such as diclofenac. Both are taken by millions for conditions such as headaches, back pain and arthritis.

The study, published in The BMJ, said their effect on heart attack risk was almost immediate. But it was not long-lasting and wore off over time. Past studies have found the common painkillers increase risk of cardiac arrest by up to a third. Scientists fear the drugs may cause blood vessels to narrow, increase fluid retention and alter blood pressure. Canadian experts found taking any regular dose of ibuprofen for between one to seven days raised chances by 48 per cent. READ MORE