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Ibuprofen – Dangers versus Benefits

When we experience pain, we often seek relief from medicine, specifically prescriptions or over-the-counter medication. To help relieve pain, individuals often take ibuprofen, which belongs to the class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) [1]. A researcher named Dr. Stewart Adams’s work had led to the discovery of the drug. Ibuprofen is an FDA-approved drug that is commonly used for mild to moderate pain. Its dosages are typically found as an oral capsule, oral suspension, oral tablet, chewable tablet, intravenous solution, topical gel, or combination kit with appropriate instructions. Ibuprofen is commonly prescribed as an analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory agent for conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and acutely painful musculoskeletal conditions [2]. The purpose of ibuprofen is to reduce symptoms that arise from mild to moderate pain. When taking this drug, you may experience some side effects.


Side effects of ibuprofen may include:


● Constipation

● Diarrhea

● Gas or bloating

● Dizziness

● Nervousness

● Ringing in the ears

Inform your doctor if these symptoms persist or become severe. Some other side effects can be serious and you must call your doctor immediately if you are feeling bad after taking ibuprofen. For more possible symptoms that are not listed below, please call your doctor for more information.

Symptoms that one should pay close attention to are:

● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

● Swelling of the abdomen, feet, ankles, or lower legs

● Fever and blisters

● Rash and itching

● Hives

● Welling of the eyes, face, throat, arms, or hands

● Pain in the upper right part of the stomach

● Nausea

● Loss of appetite

● Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Ibuprofen is suitable for self-medication, if it is used properly and safely. This type of drug is common among adults and children. However, children who are 12 years or older may only take non-prescription medication every 4 to 6 hours when needed [3]. The use of ibuprofen can pose some benefits for many individuals. For instance, it may help fight swelling, relieve pain such as muscle and menstrual cramps, and it is effective against arthritis. According to a past study, it has been concluded that ibuprofen poses other benefits as well. These benefits include lowering the possibility of going through serious GI events, and reducing pain and swelling [4]. It has been shown in a retrospective cohort study in 2012 that there was an association with a small increase in systolic blood pressure with NSAIDs compared to acetaminophen use, particularly ibuprofen [1].

Despite the benefits of taking ibuprofen as a prescription or over-the-counter drug, it can cause some negative effects. The excessive use of ibuprofen can lead to toxicity, which would have an increased risk of harming the body. It has been found that among coronary artery disease patients with hypertension, chronic self-reported use of NSAIDs was associated with harmful outcomes (Bravery et al, 2011). It is certainly vital to understand drug-drug interactions. When assessing drug-drug interactions (or DDI) with NSAIDS, users of these products are not routinely monitored by a health care provider and may be at risk for unrecognized adverse drug effects. Major locations of the adverse drug effects typically manifest in the gastrointestinal (GI), cardiovascular (CV), and renal sites (Bravery et al, 2011). To relieve pain, it is important to take the required dosage of the ibuprofen (written on the label). Taking the recommended amount of the medication can prevent onset of serious symptoms, as well as drug to drug interactions. If you have not decided on whether ibuprofen is the option to take to help reduce/manage your condition, please consult with your primary doctor. It is recommended that pregnant women do not take ibuprofen unless recommended by a doctor. The U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that specifically states that NSAID use between 20 weeks of pregnancy and delivery is not recommended [5].

Ultimately, every prescription and over the counter medication has a purpose to help relieve the pain we currently have. Many medications can only reduce symptoms for specific conditions. Ibuprofen is commonly used to reduce fever, treat pain, and reduce inflammation. Common brands of ibuprofen may include Motrin, Advil, and children’s ibuprofen. It is important for individuals to be aware of the possible side effects it may cause. Ibuprofen is not suitable for individuals who have previously had an allergic reaction to other NSAIDS, or had heart surgery. Consult with a healthcare professional for advice before taking ibuprofen. They can inform you of the side effects, drug to drug interactions, and the health conditions that should not be prescribed this medication.

Despite the relief that ibuprofen can provide, it is very important to read the information on the packaging carefully, and to follow the instructions provided to avoid certain medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and are using other NSAIDs or pain relief medication.





1. Bajaj, T., Ngo, V., (2021, October). Ibuprofen. National Library of Medicine. PubMed Central.

2. Ershad, M., Ameer, M., Vearrier, D., (2022, May). Ibuprofen Toxicity. National Library of Medicine. PubMed Central.

3. MedlinePlus (2022, January 15). Ibuprofen. National Library of Medicine.

4. Rainsford, K., (2003, April). Discovery, mechanisms of action and safety of ibuprofen. National Library of Medicine. PubMed Central.

5. Bavry AA, Khaliq A, Gong Y, Handberg EM, Cooper-Dehoff RM, Pepine CJ. Harmful effects of NSAIDs among patients with hypertension and coronary artery disease. Am J Med. 2011 Jul;124(7):614-20. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.02.025. Epub 2011 May 18. PMID: 21596367; PMCID: PMC4664475.Horsager-Boehrer, R., (2020, October 27). Know the risk of taking ibuprofen, NSAIDs during pregnancy.  UT Southwestern Medical Center.






Author: Melissa Del Rio

Editor: Kayjah Taylor

Health Scientist: Chantelle Moore















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