Ibuprofen Side Effects

Ibuprofen side effects can range from mild to severe. They can also be dependent on previous medical conditions.

If you do have chronic medical conditions, you should not be taking multiple doses of this drug without talking to your doctor first. Some of the things to worry about are due to the fact that this medication affects the stomach and the kidneys.

The best thing to do, if you are concerned, is to speak to your provider before starting anything that might affect your current medical condition, or interfer with any medication you are taking.

Conditions where you should NOT take Advil or Motrin(ibuprofen):

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • History of stomach ulcers
  • Known or suspected allergy to the drug
  • History of bleeding disorder or currently taking Warfarin/Coumadin/Aspirin daily
  • 10 days before or after surgery

Common Ibuprofen Side Effects

There are some common side effects, but most of the time they are mild. Upset stomach is the most common as this drug does irritate the stomach a bit. That is why the recommendation is "take with food". It may slow the absorption of the drug a bit, but this technique will also help avoid nausea and perhaps even vomiting.

Chronic long term use of NSAIDs does increase the risk of ulcers and even perforation with bleeding. Taking aspirin with NSAIDs does not seem to increase the risk according to studies.

Other concerns include:

Rashes. This is usually an indication of drug allergy (1-3% incidence) so the medication must be stopped immediately. If swelling of the lips or throat occurs, take bendryl immediately (if not allergic to that too!) and get to a doctor or emergency services. Swelling in the throat means swelling in the larynx and you run the risk of not being able to breath.

High blood pressure. Unfortunately, chronic use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can affect the kidneys causing scarring which leads to hypertension. Although this does not happen to everyone, you should have blood work and urinalysis every 6-12 mos if taking this med daily to assess kidney function.

Kidney effects. The above paragraph pretty much describes what happens. The actual term is renal papillary necrosis (<1% incidence) which leads to scarring and inability to process body toxins to the bladder. So you can see, if you have chronic kidney disease, this drug might make it worse. This is especially true if you are diabetic. Your first warning of this may be unexplained weight gain or swelling in the ankles. If this occurs call your doctor at once.

Cardiovascular effects. Several studies have linked an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots to chronic use of NSAIDs (about 1% incidence). The studies were performed over 3 years and included COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex. Another study demonstrated an increased risk within the first 10-14 days of use.

Nervous system effects. The most common problem is tinnitus or ringing in the ears. The condition may have a new onset with use of any NSAID or may worsen if pre-existing. It has about a 1-3% incidence. Other problems that happen (about 1% of the time) can be dizziness, odd dreams, tingling, insomnia, and very rarely a condition called "pseudo-tumor cerebri" which is a form of intracranial increased pressure. This may be related to hypertension if induced by the NSAID. You also have a higher risk of intra-cranial hypertension if you are morbidly obese.

As you can see, ibuprofen side effects can range from mild to serious, but fortunately the serious ones are rare.

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