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Ibuprofen Patient Tips

How it works

  • Ibuprofen helps relieve pain and inflammation by blocking the effects of COX enzymes. This prevents prostaglandin synthesis (prostaglandins elevate body temperature and make nerve endings more sensitive to pain transmission).
  • Ibuprofen belongs to a group of medicines known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Upsides

  • Effective for the relief of minor aches and pains due to arthritis, backache, the common cold, headache and migraine, menstruation, muscular aches, and toothache in adults.
  • Relieves minor aches and pain in children from as young as 6 months.
  • Temporarily relieves fever.
  • Does not cause dependence and is readily available at a low cost.
  • Incidence of stomach-related side effects about half that seen with aspirin or indomethacin.
  • Generic ibuprofen is available.

Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Stomach-related side effects including indigestion, heartburn, and bleeding. People of an older age, taking other medicines that affect the stomach, or who drink more than 3 glasses of alcohol per day may be more at risk. Ibuprofen has one of the lowest risks of stomach-related side effects compared with other NSAIDs.
  • Most NSAIDs have been associated with an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. The risk may be higher in patients with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions and with dosages greater than 1200mg per day.
  • May not be suitable for some people including those with kidney disease, a history of stomach ulcers or other gastrointestinal disorders, with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, or following coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
  • May interact with some other medicines such as warfarin, SSRIs, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Ibuprofen is effective for the short-term relief of minor aches and pains. Risk of stomach-related side effects is about half that seen with aspirin although risk increases with higher dosages and longer duration of use.

Tips

  • Take with food or milk if stomach disturbances (e.g. indigestion) occur with use. See a doctor if these persist.
  • Always use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration consistent with condition being treated.
  • Response to different NSAIDs can vary so switching types (ie, from ibuprofen to naproxen) may improve response.
  • See a doctor immediately if you experience any difficulty with breathing, unexplained sickness or fatigue, loss of appetite, vision changes, fluid retention or abnormal bleeding.
  • NSAIDs should not be used in the last 3 months of pregnancy; ask your doctor before using any medication in pregnancy.
  • Avoid if you have a history of asthma or hives due to aspirin use or other NSAIDs, like naproxen.

Response and Effectiveness

Peak levels are reached 1-2 hours after administration.

References

Ibuprofen [package insert]. Revised 12/2015. TIME CAP LABORATORIES, INC. https://www.drugs.com/pro/ibuprofen.html Accessed 02/2016

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use ibuprofen only for the indication prescribed.

  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Drugs.com. Revision Date: 2017-09-11 03:14:02

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