Long-term use of paracetamol could raise the risk of stroke and heart attack, according to new research.
UK-based scientists, led by Professor Philip Conaghan of the Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine, reviewed eight existing studies that had assessed the association between long-term use of paracetamol and major health problems among adults.
In two of these studies, they found a correlation between an increased relative rate of mortality and increasing doses of paracetamol when comparing patients who had been prescribed the drug and those who had not.
Four showed a link between paracetamol use and an increased risk ratio of cardiovascular problems, while one indicated an increased probability of gastrointestinal problems.
The study, which is published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, says: "Based upon the data presented we believe the true risk of paracetamol prescription to be higher than that currently perceived in the clinical community."
However, a number of experts have reacted cautiously to the study. Dr Maureen Baker, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, told the Express that most of the evidence suggests paracetamol is safe.
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