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Ibuprofen is probably your go-to remedy for a headache or backache but the next time you take it you might want to think twice.

A new study published in the European Heart Journal reports taking the over-the-counter drug is associated with a 31 percent increased risk of heart attack. Ibuprofen can cause hikes in blood pressure and blood clots.

“This is one of several studies that have shown some increased heart risk associated with medicines that are not steroids but are used for pain,” said Dr. Patrick McBride, the associate director of preventative cardiology at University of Wisconsin Hospital.

The drug is commonly sold under brand names like Advil or Motrin. McBride said not everyone needs to worry. It is older people or individuals that have heart disease or are at risk of heart disease who need to lay off the medicine.

“For a younger person, taking them periodically like for a knee injury or for a headache, as long as people took them one or two times a month, it wouldn’t be as serious a risk,” he said.

So how often can you take ibuprofen? Follow the golden rule and check with your doctor.

“Often people self-prescribe and I think that’s the problem,” McBride said.

If you have chronic pain McBride said taking up physical therapy can be a great alternative to medicine and provide long-term benefits.

Written by Channel 3000

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