Urgent warning to diabetics taking painkillers about new risk of fatal murder

Urgent warning to diabetics taking painkillers about new risk of fatal murder

MILLIONS of Britons have been warned they could be at risk of a silent killer if they take a common form of pain relief.

Experts say people living with type 2 diabetes increase their chances of ending up in hospital with heart failure if they take the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen.


People with type 2 diabetes who take ibuprofen are more likely to develop heart failure than those who don’t take it.Credit: Getty

One in ten people over 40 in the UK are living with type 2 diabetes, according to the charity Diabetes UK.

People living with the condition are more likely to experience pain than those without it, and therefore might be inclined to take painkillers more often.

This is because high blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage that leads to health problems ranging from mild numbness to pain, which can make normal activities difficult.

However, people with type 2 diabetes who take ibuprofen are more likely to develop heart failure than those who did not take it, new Danish research suggests.

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Previous studies have linked the use of pain relievers to heart failure in the general population.

But there is less information about how common pain relievers affect people with pre-existing conditions, including diabetes.

The researchers explained that patients with type 2 diabetes are already more than twice as likely to develop heart failure as those without diabetes.

The University of Copenhagen study found that diabetes patients who took ibuprofen and were over 65 had a much higher risk of heart failure than those under 65.

Also, the risk of hospitalization was actually higher among people who took these drugs infrequently or for the first time.

The study looked at 300,000 patients with type 2 diabetes over a period of almost six years.

Of those, 50,000 took anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen, and half of them were hospitalized for heart failure for the first time.

The study’s lead author, Dr Anders Holt, from the University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, said the findings suggest that “the increased risk of heart failure should be taken into account when consider using these medications.”

“In contrast, the data indicate that it may be safe to prescribe short-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for patients under 65 years of age with well-controlled diabetes,” added Dr Holt.

He also noted that data on over-the-counter ibuprofen use was not included in the study.

Dr Faye Riley, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, told the Sun: “We know that NSAIDs [non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs]which are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation, are linked to heart complications.

“Living with type 2 diabetes can also increase your risk of developing heart problems.

He added: “These findings emphasize the importance of careful consideration when prescribing NSAIDs to those already at increased risk of heart problems, including people living with type 2 diabetes.

“However, it is important to note that for many, NSAIDs are safe to take. If you are living with type 2 diabetes and are taking NSAIDs, it is important to discuss any concerns with your healthcare professional.”

The findings, from the Danish registry study, are being presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress.

Several studies have previously suggested that taking painkillers could cause serious health problems.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin have previously been linked to a 20% increased risk of developing tinnitus.

A set of studies by Ohio State University gurus found that taking acetaminophen, what we call paracetamol in Britain, could make people take more risks than they normally would.

The NHS recommends that you check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking ibuprofen if:

  • Have had a perforation or bleeding in your stomach, or a stomach ulcer more than once, especially if it was caused by an NSAID.
  • You have a health problem that means you are more likely to bleed.
  • You have severe heart failure, kidney failure or liver failure.
  • You are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant.
  • You have uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, mild or moderate heart failure, or have ever had a stroke.
  • You have kidney or liver problems, asthma, hay fever or allergies, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or diabetes.
  • You have chickenpox or shingles, or an infection; taking ibuprofen may increase the chance of certain infections and skin reactions.

If in doubt, always talk to a pharmacist or doctor to find out if ibuprofen is right for you and always read the package leaflet of the medicine.

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If you take more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen, you should consult a pharmacist or doctor immediately.

If you have difficulty breathing or any other symptoms that worry you, call 111 as soon as possible for an assessment or visit your nearest A&E department.

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