People who constantly use paracetamol to treat their illness should be wary as doing so daily would raise the blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers have found.

A team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh surveyed 110 patients with a history of high blood pressure. They split the test group into two and put one group on one gram of paracetamol four times a day, for two weeks, while the second group got a placebo for the same period of time.

The regime was later reversed, with the first group getting the placebo, and the second group getting paracetamol.

It was found that the blood pressure levels in the group placed on paracetamol had significantly within four days of the study, increasing the chance of a heart attack or a stroke by 20 per cent.

Professor David Webb, chair of therapeutics and clinical pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh, told Telegraph UK that the latest findings have brought into question opinions that paracetamol was a safer alternative to ibuprofen, which is known to raise blood pressure.

"Consideration should be given to stopping using paracetamol in patients at risk of heart attack or stroke. We would recommend that clinicians start with a low dose of paracetamol and increase the dose in stages, going no higher than needed to control pain," he said.

Dr Iain MacIntyre, consultant in clinical pharmacology and nephrology at NHS Lothian, however, assured that only people who are on a steady stream of paracetamol medication are prone to the above conditions.

"This is not about the short-term use of paracetamol for headaches or fever, which is, of course, fine but it does indicate a newly discovered risk for people who take it regularly over the longer term, usually for chronic pain," he said.

Source: Telegraph UK
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