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ABC News reported on an April 17, 2005 Associated Press story stating that over the counter pain medications increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. According to a study performed in Norway, smokers who took such drugs for at least six months had twice the risk of dying of a heart attack, stroke or other heart-related problem.

Previously, the biggest concern was for so-called cox-2 drugs Bextra, Vioxx and Celebrex. This study completed claims that there also are problems associated with the family of medications that are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, which include naproxen, ibuprofen and almost all other offered over-the-counter pain relievers except Aspirin and Tylenol.

Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, a Cornell University scientist who helped conduct do the Norway study determined, "To the best of our knowledge, these are the first data to support displaying a box warning on NSAIDs, not just cox-2s." The original purpose of the research was to determine if these pain relievers can prevent oral cancer. However, the results revealed that the NSAID consumers were dying at twice the rate of the others from heart-related problems. The risk was greatest among ibuprofen users, who were nearly three times more likely to pass away from cardiovascular disease than non-NSAID users.

Worries over the prescription medications Vioxx and Bextra have already caused then to be pulled from the market. Now this study has produced disturbing questions about the heart safety and long-term use of the very common over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve.

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