Taking antibiotics for long periods after the age of 40 may be linked to increased risk of heart attack or stroke in older women, according to the results of a study published yesterday in the European Heart Journal.

The results are the latest observations to be gleaned from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), an ongoing study of registered US nurses that began in 1976 and uses biennial questionnaires to investigate risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. Analyzing questionnaire data from 2004 through 2012, researchers found that women who took antibiotics for more than 2 months during middle age or late adulthood were 28% and 32% more likely, respectively, to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) than women who took no antibiotics.

The results also showed that women who took antibiotics for more than 15 days after age 40 had increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

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