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Ibuprofen: Important Warnings and Precautions

An overview of how to recognize common and more serious side effects with ibuprofen

Video transcript

>> Hello and welcome to "VideoScript", presented by

Today in the final of three presentations, we continue reviewing ibuprofen, a commonly used medication in the class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

We will review important warnings and precautions with ibuprofen. It is important for patients to understand these warnings and precautions due to ibuprofen’s widespread use and ease of availability as a non-prescription drug.

Ibuprofen should not be used in patients who have experienced asthma or other allergic-type reactions after taking aspirin or other NSAIDs. In these patients, severe and possibly fatal allergies may occur with ibuprofen.

The most common side effect with ibuprofen, like most NSAIDs, is stomach reactions like pain, heartburn and nausea. To help lessen these side effects, it may be helpful to take ibuprofen with food or milk, or at mealtime.

Less frequently, serious stomach or intestinal ulceration, bleeding or perforation can occur without warning.

Patients older than 65 years of age or those who consume more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day may be especially prone to these serious stomach side effects.

Patients who have a history of stomach or intestinal ulcers, bleeding or other stomach disorders should consult with their healthcare provider prior to using ibuprofen.

Patients who develop black, tarry stools, severe stomach pain, or vomiting that looks like coffee grounds or with blood should immediately contact their healthcare professional as this may indicate stomach bleeding.

Ibuprofen, like other NSAIDs, may rarely cause serious cardiovascular side effects, such as heart attack or stroke. These risks may be higher in patients who have a history of heart disease or may be at-risk for heart disease.

Patients who use heart, or high blood pressure medications should talk with their healthcare provider prior to using ibuprofen as it may worsen high blood pressure or cause fluid retention.

There is no good evidence that taking aspirin will have a protective effect against these heart side effects due to NSAIDs, and taking an NSAID with aspirin may increase the risk of stomach ulceration. Patients who take aspirin as a blood thinner should check with their doctor before taking ibuprofen.

In addition, ibuprofen should not be used before or after certain heart surgeries called coronary artery bypass grafts, or CABG.

If a patient should experience chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, or slurring of speech while using ibuprofen, they should consult with their healthcare provider immediately.

There are many other important warnings, drug interactions and side effects with ibuprofen. Even though ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are available without a prescription, it is important for at-risk patients to understand theses precautions and consult with their doctor prior to any NSAID use.

Thank you for joining us at for a brief review of ibuprofen. Please refer to our patient and professional information, drug interaction checker, and additional tools on

Patients with a concern about the use of ibuprofen should consult with their health care provider.

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