Health officials have advised patients with heart problems to avoid a common painkiller used by millions after research found it can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
The British medicines regulator last night said that patients with an underlying heart condition, such as heart failure, heart disease or circulatory problems, or patients who have previously suffered heart attacks or strokes, should no longer use diclofenac, which is contained in popular brands such as Difene and Voltorol.
A spokesman said the advice on the drug has been updated after a European review which found an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Research published in the journal 'PLOS Medicine' found that patients using diclofenac were found to be 40pc more at risk than those who were not using the drug.
Diclofenac was the most commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in Britain last year.