ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A new study finds high doses of over the counter painkillers are bad for your heart.

“This study actually looked at the good old generic stuff you can get on your drug store shelf, so we’re talking about ibuprofen and Motrin and those types of medications,” says SLU Care cardiologist Dr. Michael Lim at SSM Health SLU Hospital.

Canadian researchers found a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of a heart attack in those who regularly take painkillers compared with someone not taking the drugs.

“The new news that this study actually put forward was the fact that, we used to think it was chronic use, so maybe after two, three, four months or years of these medications, maybe that’s what causes all the problems, and if you don’t, if you just use it for a short period of time maybe you’re safe. This study debunks that a little bit and says no, maybe even after a couple days this still could cause a risk,” Lim says.

Experts say while the absolute risk of having a heart attack after taking these medications is very small, consumers should exercise caution.

“I think it’s concerning,” Lim says. “One thing it does not show is absolute cause and effect, meaning it shows an association between a sonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and heart attacks, but it doesn’t say that it actually causes the heart attack, so I think there’s more work to be figured out. I think there’s good indications why people take these medications and use them, and we ought to think about anything that we put in our bodies, and everything we take, even if it’s over the counter, and if there’s any questions ask your physician and go through it and get some counseling and some advice, and we’ll do the best we can.”

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