Paracetamol was often suggested as a safer alternative to another class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
A recent study from the University of Edinburgh found that long-term paracetamol use could increase the risk of heart disease and strokes in people with high blood pressure.
A previous study showed that NSAIDs could increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. To avoid these risk factors, some patients use the prescription for Paracetamol to treat chronic pain.
According to the current study, these people should choose the lowest effective dose of Paracetamol for the shortest possible time.
In the study, researchers examined 110 patients with a history of high blood pressure.
These patients were prescribed one gram of paracetamol four times a day (a routinely prescribed dose in patients with chronic pain), or a matched placebo for two weeks.
The researchers found that the participants prescribed paracetamol saw a significant increase in their blood pressure, compared with those taking the placebo.
This rise was similar to that seen with NSAIDs and might be expected to increase the risk of heart disease or stroke by around 20 percent.
The findings suggest that it is necessary to conduct a review of long-term paracetamol prescriptions to patients—particularly those with high blood pressure, or those at particular risk of heart disease or stroke.
This study clearly shows that paracetamol—the world’s most used drug—increases blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
Doctors and patients together should consider the risks versus the benefits of long-term paracetamol prescription, especially in patients at risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you care about pain, please read studies about why cholesterol-lowering drug statins can cause muscle pain, and new device to treat pain without using drugs.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies that vaccines may increase heart disease risk, and results showing Vitamin D and this hormone may prevent heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The study was conducted by Iain MacIntyre et al and published in Circulation.
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