European regulators are investigating common painkiller drugs after researchers warned that some of them might increase the risk of heart attack.
The new data, culled from 140,000 patients, suggested that some of the drugs doubled heart attack risk.
The European Medicines Agency which is investigating drugs such as diclofenac, etodolac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, ketoprofen, ketorolac, meloxicam, nabumetone, naproxen, nimesulide and piroxicam recommends use of smallest dose of the drugs by patients as briefly as possible, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
Millions of people regularly take such drugs, technically known as non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and including ibuprofen, commonly marketed as Nurofen.
A recent version of the drug, Vioxx, was taken off the market in 2004 after it was linked with hundreds of US heart attacks. New research suggests there could be a similar risk in older versions of the drugs.
Questions were also raised over the safety of taking high doses of ibuprofen for long periods. It was suggested that for every 1,000 people taking the drugs, three people a year would suffer a related heart attack.
Patients who are already taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks are being told not to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as well unless absolutely necessary.
The European Medicines Agency will decide next month whether doctors need new guidance over long-term use of the drugs.