Taking common painkillers on a regular basis could increase the risk of a heart attack, according to new research.
Researchers from Canada, Finland and Germany looked at previous studies bringing together the data of almost 450,000 people, 61,460 of whom had suffered a heart attack.
They found that any dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and naproxen, was associated with an increased risk.
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This large-scale study worryingly highlights just how quickly you become at risk of having a heart attack after starting NSAIDs.
"Whether you are being prescribed painkillers like ibuprofen, or buying them over the counter, people must be made aware of the risk and alternative medication should be considered where appropriate."
John Smith, chief executive of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, which represents makers of over-the-counter medicine, said: "NSAIDs that are available to buy over the counter are much lower doses than those prescribed.
"Prescribed NSAIDs are also typically used daily and for much longer duration, often to treat long-term conditions.
"People taking over-the-counter NSAIDs should not be concerned by this research if they are taking the medicine occasionally for short periods and according to the on-pack instructions."
The study is published in the British Medical Journal.