New report links common painkillers to increased risk of heart attacks

ABC News' Dr. Jennifer Ashton brings the latest on a new report that links painkillers such as ibuprofen to an increased risk of heart attack.
2:10 | 05/11/17

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Transcript for New report links common painkillers to increased risk of heart attacks
We are back now with that report showing a link between common painkillers, many of us have in our medicine cabinet, and increased heart attack risked joined by Dr. Jennifer Ashton. So, what did this reveal? Had is it the actual study right here, robin. Talking about the number one killer of men and women, heart disease and a class of medication known as NSAIDs or N nonsteroidals taken by millions of people. It looked at all of the existing data on heart attack and people taking this class of medication and what they found was an associated increased risk of heart attack in people taking N nonsteroidals. That risk was said to be highest in the first month of use and the risk seemed to be greater with increasing dose. Now here come the qualifiers. We say it all the time. This is important. This study was based on observation, it didn't explain a mechanism or cause or effect. There were other factors that could have also increased the risk of heart attack in those people which weren't taken into account and it didn't give a precise number to that risk so it didn't say, robin, now you have a 5 in 10 risk of a heart attack. It said the risk was up so we need a lot more data. If you're at home and hear this, you're going to be very concerned if you have this in your cabinet. Of course, and I think the awareness here is key. We need to understand when you talk about over-the-counter or prescription medication to treat things like fever, pain, injury, things like that, it's not just N nonsteroidals or ibuprofen, it's acetaminophen or aspirin have their own individual risk profile and benefits. They can be safe and effective but it's not one size fits all and that's the key message here. People need to individualize that risk and have the awareness that it could be increased. But also bringing in the awareness that the lifestyle that we have and such, got to keep that in mind. That's the message that needs to be repeated. 80% of heart disease is preventable with certain modifiable risk factors. If you smoke, stop. We say know your numbers. Blood pressure, waist circumference, diabetes risk, be active every day and obviously limit alcohol. It's not going to completely remove the risk of death from heart attack but it can lower it and it's in your control. All right, Jen, thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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