Ibuprofen is a type of anti-inflammatory drug, reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Ibuprofen is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury. It can be used in adults and children who are more than 6 months old.
Importantly, you should not take more than your recommended dose. Or else, it can increase your risk of fatal heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term or take high doses, or if you have heart disease. Also, it may cause stomach or intestinal bleeding, which more often happens to older adults who take the drug without warning. Use only the smallest amount of medication needed to get relief from your pain, swelling, or fever.
What you need to know before taking the medicine
Do not use this medicine just before or after heart bypass surgery (coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG).
You should not use ibuprofen if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever had an asthma attack, hives, or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID (including acetaminophen, naproxen, or others).
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have:
- heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke
- a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot
- a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding
- liver or kidney disease
- fluid retention
- a connective tissue disease such as Marfan syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, or lupus
Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are pregnant. It may harm your unborn baby.
When do you need to stop taking the medicine?
If you have signs of a heart attack or stroke, an allergic reaction or have the following symptoms to ibuprofen, please stop taking the medicine immediately and go to the hospital for medical treatment:
- Rash or hives
- Sneezing, runny or stuffy nose
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Changes in your vision
- Shortness of breath (even with mild exertion)
- Swelling or rapid weight gain
- The first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild
- Signs of stomach bleeding – bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Liver problems – nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Kidney problems – little or no urinating, painful or difficult urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath
- Low red blood cells (anemia) – pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating
- Severe skin reaction – fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling
What are the main side effects of ibuprofen?
Common ibuprofen side effects may include:
- Upset stomach, mild heartburn, nausea, vomiting
- Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation
- Dizziness, headache, nervousness
- Decreased appetite
- Mild itching or rash
- Ringing in your ears