April 3 (UPI) -- A widely used pain relief drug may raise the risk for stroke in people with diabetes, a new study says.
About 5 percent of people who took acetaminophen suffered strokes compared to 4 percent who didn't take acetaminophen but had a strokes. But the number of people who have diabetes and took the drug had even more strokes.
"My personal message to the people in my everyday practice is that any drug they take may have some form of harmful side effect unknown to them, even those they can buy over the counter," study author Philippe Gerard, a researcher at Gérontopôle, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Toulouse, said in a news release.
The study was conducted to examine the connection between acetaminophen and cardiac events such as stroke and heart attack among older people living in nursing homes in France.
The researchers' aim was to explore any connection between acetaminophen use, death, and major heart events such as strokes and heart attacks in a large group of older adults living in nursing homes in southwestern France. However, the researchers didn't find any connection between acetaminophen use and an increase in heart attacks.
Health risks that are associated with acetaminophen include kidney damage, according to some studies.
The drug has also been linked to acute liver failure.
In all, the researchers reported that acetaminophen is a safe choice for pain relief for most older adults -- but those with diabetes should be more cautious about taking it.
"It is always best to check with your health care provider before you take any new medication, and make sure you're taking the dose that's right for you," Gerard said.