Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could increase a patient's risk of heart failure, according to a new study by the BMJ.

The study looked at 10 million people who took the common painkillers, which include drugs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, and found that they increased the risk of being taken to hospital with heart failure by 19 percent.

Because the average age of patients in the study was 77, experts have said that the findings should be of little worry to anyone under 65, but still urged caution for younger patients takig them regularly.

"The consequence is that it is of very little relevance to most people below age 65 taking painkillers," said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, "but in the very elderly, say, above 80, the effects are of more relevance."

Meanwhile, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has said that the study "serves as a reminder to doctors to consider carefully how they prescribe NSAIDs, and to patients that they should only take the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time".