So does that mean you need to dump your Advil in the toilet?
Not at all. But first, here’s the study.
Researchers looked at more than 650 studies and found that taking high doses of ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac for long periods of time can raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, and death by about 33 percent.
They say these drugs are “equally as hazardous” as the drug Vioxx, which the FDA pulled off of the market a years ago because of heart related side effects.
So … you see a study like this and think, geez, next headache I get, I’m going to let my head explode instead of popping a pill that will make my heart explode.
Not so fast.
The researchers said the dose that raises the risk is 2400 mg a day — the equivalent of 12 OTC tabs. And, they did not say how long you would need to take these high doses to be at risk for a problem. They said “extended periods.” To me, a boring baseball game is an “extended period”, so that’s no help.
Bottom line: you’re probably not at that much higher a risk for the “big one” if you are taking an occasional ibuprofen. If you take higher doses for consistent periods of time, i.e. several weeks — talk to your doctor and make sure there are no worries given your underlying health.
Remember, you can beat up your kidneys, liver, and stomach with meds like ibuprofen, even the OTC variety. Also remember, they can add a few points to your blood pressure.
Just because it is available without a prescription, doesn’t mean 100 percent safety. Then again, don’t let your head explode over this study.