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Prolonged use of some widely used painkillers increases the risk of heart attacks by a small but significant amount, a large international study led by Oxford University researchers has found.

Professor Colin Baigent of Oxford's Clinical Trial Service Unit led the research on a class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). He said: 'The research shows that, when used in high doses, diclofenac and ibuprofen increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, on average causing about 3 extra heart attacks a year in every 1000 patients treated, one of which would be fatal.

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