Researchers have found that use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as the painkiller ibuprofen, does not increase the chance of heart disease in elderly people.
The study - led by Professor Arduino Mangoni, who recently joined the University of Aberdeen from Flinders University in Adelaide - found that there was a lower risk of death associated with the use of NSAIDs, although scientists are unclear about the reasons behind it.
Prof Mangoni said: "Our study has demonstrated that the use of NSAIDs has overall a neutral effect on the risk of heart disease in a large elderly population with multiple co-existing medical conditions."
The study looked at anti-inflammatory drugs which, with the exception of ibuprofen, generally require a prescription.
Findings of the research - which looked at nationwide hospital admission and pharmacy prescription database of 320,000 elderly Australians - has been published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Previous thinking had suggested that people using anti-inflammatory drugs for the management of pain and inflammation could be putting themselves at greater risk of heart attack.
"I would look at above research with criticism, Australian & British lifestyles are poles apart, weather being an important factor. My belief is that NSAIDS should be used with extreme caution, if at all, in patients with cardiovascular problems. My father's heart disease was absolutely under control, until he was prescribed NSAIDs (diclofenac) when his condition suddenly deteriorated, causing his demise 3 weeks later" - Name and address supplied