The American Heart Association (AHA) is urging doctors to check the medications of all patients thoroughly to ensure they aren’t inadvertently putting their lives at risk.
The move comes as a growing body of research suggests that several common medicines used for the treatment of colds and flu – including ibuprofen – can create flare-ups in people with heart failure, making the a third more likely to be admitted to hospital.
Dr Mariell Jessup, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in the US and member of the American Heart Association said: “It’s very concerning that patients who have heart failure, if they take NSAIDS, it clearly aggravates sodium and fluid retention.
“If the patient holds on to more salt and water, then it’s more work for the heart, and will aggravate the heart failure condition. There’s a wide variety of people who should be aware these aren’t harmless drugs.”
The AHA also warns that people with diagnosed heart failure should also avoid green tea, grapefruit juice and natural remedies such as liquorice, St John’s wort and ginseng, particularly if their symptoms worsen.