What Is Ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
It is one of the most widely used analgesics (pain-relieving medication), anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic (medicine that reduces fever).
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists ibuprofen as an essential medicine as it provides quick relief to common conditions like fever, inflammation, pain, headaches, menstrual pain, etc.
Ibuprofen is available as oral tablets and syrup forms.
The drug may be given intravenously to manage pain after surgery in some patients.
The dosage of ibuprofen prescribed to a patient varies depending upon a person’s age and the cause and severity of pain.
You must always take ibuprofen with food or a glass of milk to reduce the risk of stomach irritation.
What Is Ibuprofen Used For?
Ibuprofen is used to relieve pain in different conditions such as:
- Menstrual cramps
- Muscle aches
- Dental pain
- Arthritic pain
- Minor aches and pain related to the common cold or the flu.
How Does Ibuprofen Work?
Ibuprofen is an NSAID and acts by blocking the production of prostaglandins (natural substances released by body cells that trigger pain).
Ibuprofen inhibits (or prevents) the action of the enzyme cyclooxygenase that is required for the production of prostaglandins.
This action of ibuprofen lowers prostaglandins in the body and subsequently reduces pain and inflammation.
How Long Does It Take For Ibuprofen To Work?
After taking ibuprofen, it can take around 30 minutes for you to experience some symptom relief.
Does Ibuprofen Thin Your Blood?
Ibuprofen is a blood thinner and reduces clotting time.
How Long Does Ibuprofen Stay In Your System?
Around 45% to 79% of ibuprofen consumed is eliminated in urine. Ibuprofen remains in your body for around 24 hours.
Research states that the excretion of ibuprofen is completed within 24 hours after the last dose.
Side Effects Of Ibuprofen
Like any medicine, ibuprofen may cause side effects in some individuals.
Some common side effects of ibuprofen are:
- Abdominal pain
- Acidity and heartburn
- Belching and bloating
- Decreased quantity of urine
- Cloudy urine
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Swelling of hands, legs, feet, and face
- Tiredness and fatigue
If you experience any of the following serious side effects of ibuprofen, you must contact your doctor immediately:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Ringing in the ears or hearing problem
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- Loss of appetite
- The yellowness of skin, eyes, pale stools (signs of jaundice)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blood in stools or urine
- Unexplained stiff neck
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction)
Is Ibuprofen Bad For The Kidneys?
NSAIDs like ibuprofen block prostaglandin production, resulting in reduced blood flow to the kidneys.
This also means reduced oxygen supply to the kidneys, leading to acute kidney injury.
However, ibuprofen’s adverse effects on the kidneys are usually reversible.
Why Is Ibuprofen Bad For Your Heart?
Research states that ibuprofen may worsen or aggravate hypertension in an individual with the condition or cause hypertension in an individual without the condition.
Ibuprofen may also worsen heart failure or cause a heart attack or stroke in some people.
This is why most ibuprofen has a black box on its packaging that states ‘Cardiovascular Risk’ written on it.
Does Ibuprofen Raise Blood Pressure?
Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs may increase blood pressure in people having the condition.
It may also cause high blood pressure levels in people without chronic hypertension.
Ibuprofen: Interactions With Other Drugs
Ibuprofen interacts with some drugs and may cause adverse reactions. Sometimes, drug interactions may reduce the effect of one or both drugs.
Some significant drug interactions of ibuprofen are:
Ibuprofen and Lithium
If you are taking lithium or lithium-containing medication, you must speak to your doctor before taking ibuprofen along with it.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen increase lithium levels in the blood, leading to lithium intoxication– a potentially life-threatening condition that may require hospitalization.
The risk of lithium intoxication due to ibuprofen or NSAIDs is higher in elderly patients and people who have congestive heart failure, kidney impairment, or dehydration.
Ibuprofen and Methotrexate
Methotrexate is a chemotherapeutic agent used to treat different types of cancers.
Taking methotrexate with ibuprofen may increase blood levels of methotrexate and subsequently cause more significant side effects due to it.
This adverse reaction is more likely to occur in people with pre-existing kidney disease or those taking high doses of methotrexate.
So, your doctor may adjust the dosage of methotrexate if you need to take ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen and Cyclosporine
Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant used in patients after an organ transplant to reduce the chances of rejections.
Some symptoms of kidney damage that you may experience are:
- Swelling in arms, legs, ankles, and feet
- Weight gain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
Ibuprofen and Blood Thinners
Taking ibuprofen with blood-thinning drugs like warfarin, coumadin, etc., may increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Taking warfarin with ibuprofen may decrease its metabolism (breaking down f the drug into smaller molecules).
Ibuprofen and Heart and Blood Pressure Medications
Ibuprofen has been associated with a rise in blood pressure levels in hypertensive and non-hypertensive patients.
When taken with antihypertensive medications like ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and diuretics (water pills), ibuprofen may reduce their effects, causing a rise in blood pressure.
Ibuprofen and Corticosteroids
Taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen with corticosteroids may cause severe stomach bleeding.
This occurs due to reduced gastric mucus production and delayed healing of stomach erosion caused by NSAIDs.
Can You Take Ibuprofen With Tramadol?
Tramadol is a non-narcotic pain reliever medication like ibuprofen.
There are no reported drug interactions between ibuprofen and tramadol, so you can take these two drugs together.
Can You Take Benadryl And Ibuprofen Together?
Since there are no known interactions between Benadryl and ibuprofen, you may take these drugs together.
Can You Take Hydrocodone And Ibuprofen Together?
The combination of hydrocodone with ibuprofen is used to relieve acute severe pain.
This combination is usually prescribed when opioids are required, and other pain-relieving medications have not worked enough or cannot be tolerated by the patient.
However, hydrocodone and ibuprofen should not be used together for longer than ten days as they may make for an addictive combination.
Can You Take Ibuprofen And Dayquil?
Dayquil is a combination product used for relieving symptoms like runny nose, stuffy nose, body ache, sore throat, fever, etc., common in cold and flu.
Dayquil contains acetaminophen and phenylephrine, both of which are safe to take with ibuprofen.
So, it is safe to take ibuprofen with Dayquil.
Ibuprofen: Gene-Drug Interactions
The PTGS2 Gene
Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase or PTGS2 gene gives instructions for producing the enzyme cyclooxygenase.
This enzyme plays a vital role in prostaglandin synthesis (chemicals that enable you to feel pain).
Cyclooxygenase enzyme is the target of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
rs20417 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP found in the PTGS2 gene and located on chromosome 1.
People having the CC genotype of SNP rs20417 have decreased pain relief to ibuprofen than those with GG and CG genotypes.
Recommendations To Use Ibuprofen
If you are allergic to ibuprofen, any other NSAID (such as naproxen), or aspirin, inform your doctor about the same before taking ibuprofen.
- Current medications
Ibuprofen may react with other medication, nutritional and other herbal supplements to cause adverse reactions.
So, you must inform your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking to avoid serious complications.
- Medical history
Before taking ibuprofen, inform your doctor about your complete medical history to avoid any serious adverse effects due to the drug.
Some conditions that you must tell your doctor about include:
- Blood disorders like anemia, bleeding, or clotting problems
- Growth in the nose (for example, a nasal polyp)
- Heart diseases (including a previous history of heart attack)
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Liver disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
Inform your dentist or surgeon if you take ibuprofen before undergoing any surgical procedure, as ibuprofen may cause prolonged bleeding.
- Alcohol and drugs
Ibuprofen may make you drowsy or dizzy, which may be aggravated when combined with alcohol or narcotics. So, do not consume alcohol if you are taking ibuprofen.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on conceiving in the near future before taking ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen may harm your unborn baby or cause problems with labor or delivery.
It is not recommended to be taken by pregnant women from 20 weeks till delivery.
If ibuprofen is required to be given in women who are over 20 weeks pregnant, the doctor evaluates the benefits vs. the risk of doing so and usually prescribes an extremely low dosage.
Ibuprofen passes into breast milk but does not cause any side effects in the infant.
However, it is best to inform your doctor if you are breastfeeding before taking ibuprofen.
- How Much Ibuprofen Can I Take?
The dosage of ibuprofen that is right for you will depend upon your age, the cause and severity of your pain.
For mild to moderate pain, 400 mg of ibuprofen is recommended to be taken every four to six hours.
You must not consume more than 3,200 mg of ibuprofen in a day.
- Can 1000 Mg Of Ibuprofen Kill You?
An overdose of ibuprofen can perforate your stomach lining and cause bleeding. Some other signs of ibuprofen overdose are:
- Drop in blood pressure (hypotension)
- Difficulty in breathing or slow breathing
- Severe headache
The maximum permissible dosage of ibuprofen in a day is 3,200 mg—this means you should not take over 800 mg of ibuprofen in one dosage.
Ibuprofen overdose may lead to severe life-threatening complications.
- Can You Get Addicted To Ibuprofen?
You can get addicted to drugs that bind to opioid receptors in the brain, such as morphine, codeine, etc.
These drugs belong to a class of pain relievers called narcotics.
Ibuprofen is an NSAID drug, and you cannot get addicted to it.
However, if you take ibuprofen with drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, or pseudoephedrine, the combination can be addictive.
- Genetic testing
Genetic testing may be recommended before taking ibuprofen.
It helps your doctor understand how your body may react to the drug and the best dosage for you.
- Ibuprofen is a commonly used OTC analgesic and belongs to the NSAID group.
- Ibuprofen is available for oral consumption– in tablet and syrup form.
- The dosage of ibuprofen prescribed to a patient depends on their cause, the severity of pain, and age.
- Common ibuprofen uses include headaches, fever, dental pain, menstrual cramps, and minor joint pain.
- Like other NSAIDs, ibuprofen works by blocking the production of prostaglandins.
- Ibuprofen is largely safe but may cause side effects in some people.
- Ibuprofen is harmful to the kidneys and increases blood pressure levels.
- Ibuprofen may interact with some commonly used drugs, nutritional and herbal supplements.
- People with the CC genotype of rs20417 in the PTGS2 gene experience reduced pain relief with ibuprofen than those with CG and GG genotypes.
- Inform your doctor about allergies to NSAIDs, your complete medical history, and current medications before taking ibuprofen.
- You must inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to conceive, or are breastfeeding before taking ibuprofen.