Ibuprofen – Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Storage

Generic Name: Ibuprofen


Ibuprofen is a widely used medication for the relief of pain associated with various conditions, such as headaches, dental pain, menstrual cramps, muscle aches, and arthritis. Additionally, it’s effective in reducing fever and alleviating minor aches and pains resulting from common colds or the flu. Classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), ibuprofen operates by inhibiting the production of specific natural substances in your body that trigger inflammation. This action helps to reduce swelling, alleviate pain, and lower fever.

For Chronic Conditions and Children

If you’re dealing with a chronic condition like arthritis, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider regarding non-drug treatments or the potential use of other medications to manage your pain. Please see the Warning section for additional guidance. Notably, there is a particular form of ibuprofen intended for use by children. Avoid administering this medication to a child under the age of 2 without your doctor’s explicit instructions.

Usage Instructions for Ibuprofen

Before using this medication, make sure to thoroughly read and adhere to all the directions provided on the product’s packaging. If you have any uncertainties, consult your physician or pharmacist for clarification.

Ibuprofen is taken orally, following the guidance of your doctor or the directions on the product label. Typically, it should be taken every 6 to 8 hours, as needed. Ensure you chew it thoroughly before swallowing. If you experience stomach upset, taking the medication with food, milk, or an antacid is recommended.

The dosage you require is determined by your specific medical condition and your body’s response to the treatment. To minimize the risk of stomach bleeding and other potential side effects, it’s essential to take the medication at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest duration. Avoid increasing your dosage or using the drug more frequently than what your healthcare provider or the package label prescribes.

When ibuprofen is administered to children, the dose is determined based on the child’s weight. Refer to the package instructions to determine the appropriate dose according to your child’s weight. Consult your pharmacist or physician if you have questions or require assistance in selecting a nonprescription product.

It’s worth noting that pain medications tend to be most effective when used at the initial signs of discomfort. Delaying the use of the medication until the pain intensifies might result in reduced effectiveness.

In case your condition persists, worsens, or you suspect a severe medical issue, seek medical assistance promptly. If you’re employing the nonprescription product to manage fever or pain in yourself or a child and the fever lasts more than 3 days or the pain persists or worsens beyond 10 days, consult a doctor without delay.

Potential Side Effects of Ibuprofen

Common side effects of ibuprofen usage may encompass an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, or drowsiness. If these effects persist or worsen, promptly inform your doctor or pharmacist.

In instances where your doctor has directed you to use this medication, it’s important to acknowledge that they have evaluated that the benefits outweigh the risks of potential side effects. A substantial number of individuals taking this medication do not experience severe side effects.

This medication may lead to an increase in your blood pressure. To monitor your blood pressure and respond to any elevation, carry out regular checks and inform your doctor if the readings are high.

Alert your healthcare provider immediately if you encounter any of the following serious side effects: easy bruising or bleeding, changes in hearing (such as ringing in the ears), an unexplained stiff neck, indications of kidney problems (like alterations in urine volume), vision changes, or signs of heart failure (e.g., swollen ankles or feet, unusual fatigue, unexplained rapid weight gain).

In rare cases, this drug may result in severe, potentially fatal liver disease. If you experience symptoms such as relentless nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, dark urine, stomach or abdominal pain, or yellowing of the eyes or skin, seek medical help immediately.

While extremely rare, some individuals may experience a serious allergic reaction to this medication. In such cases, seek immediate medical attention if you notice symptoms like fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching or swelling (especially in the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.

Kindly note that this is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects. If you detect any unlisted effects, promptly get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist.

In the United States, you can obtain medical advice concerning side effects by contacting your doctor, calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088, or visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada, consult your doctor for guidance or report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions for Using Ibuprofen

Before using ibuprofen, convey any allergies you may have to your doctor or pharmacist, whether they are related to ibuprofen, aspirin, other NSAIDs like naproxen and celecoxib, or any other allergies you might have. The product may contain inactive ingredients capable of triggering allergic reactions or other complications. For additional information, consult your pharmacist.

Reveal your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking this medication, particularly if you have asthma (especially if you’ve experienced exacerbated breathing after consuming aspirin or other NSAIDs), blood disorders (e.g., anemia or bleeding/clotting issues), nasal polyps, heart disease (including prior heart attacks), high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, or throat/stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., bleeding, heartburn, ulcers).

Ibuprofen use can, in some instances, lead to kidney issues, particularly if you’re dehydrated, have heart failure or kidney disease, are an older adult, or are concurrently taking specific medications (see Drug Interactions section). To prevent dehydration, ensure you drink an adequate amount of fluids as directed by your doctor and inform them if you notice any changes in your urine output.

This medication may induce dizziness or drowsiness. When alcohol or marijuana is introduced into the equation, these effects can be intensified. It’s imperative not to operate machinery, drive, or engage in activities demanding attentiveness until you’re confident in your ability to do so safely. If you’re using marijuana (cannabis), talk to your doctor about it.

Be aware that this medication can result in stomach bleeding. Regular alcohol consumption and tobacco use, particularly in conjunction with this medication, may heighten the risk of stomach bleeding. It’s advisable to limit alcohol intake and quit smoking. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

This product might contain sugar and/or aspartame. If you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition necessitating restrictions or avoidance of these substances in your diet, exercise caution. Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist to use this product safely.

Ahead of surgery, inform your doctor or dentist about all the products you are using, including prescription medications, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.

Elderly individuals may face a higher risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding, kidney problems, heart attacks, and strokes when utilizing this medication.

Women of childbearing age should have a discussion with their doctor(s) regarding the advantages and drawbacks of using this medication. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or planning to conceive. This medication may be detrimental to an unborn child and lead to complications during labor and delivery. Generally, it is not recommended for use after the 20th week of pregnancy. Should your doctor conclude that you need this medication between the 20th and 30th weeks of pregnancy, it should be administered in the lowest effective dose and for the briefest possible duration. Beyond the 30th week of pregnancy, it is best to abstain from using this medication.

While this medication can pass into breast milk, it is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Discuss this with your doctor before breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions with Ibuprofen

The potential for drug interactions exists, which can either alter the effectiveness of your medications or increase the risk of experiencing severe side effects. This document does not encompass all feasible drug interactions. Maintain a comprehensive list of all the products you are using, including both prescription and nonprescription medications and herbal products. Share this list with your doctor and pharmacist, and do not initiate, terminate, or modify the dosages of your medications without receiving your doctor’s consent.

Certain products may interact with this drug, including aliskiren, ACE inhibitors (e.g., captopril, lisinopril), angiotensin II receptor blockers (e.g., losartan, valsartan), cidofovir, corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), lithium, and diuretics (commonly referred to as “water pills,” e.g., furosemide).

In addition to the above, this medication can elevate the risk of bleeding when taken in conjunction with other drugs that also have the potential to cause bleeding. Examples encompass anti-platelet medications like clopidogrel, and blood thinners like dabigatran, enoxaparin, or warfarin, among others.

Carefully inspect the labels of all prescription and nonprescription drugs, as many of them contain pain relievers or fever reducers (including aspirin and NSAIDs such as celecoxib, ketorolac, or naproxen). These substances are similar to ibuprofen and, if used together, can increase the risk of side effects. Nevertheless, if your doctor has prescribed low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks or strokes (generally 81–162 milligrams daily), continue with this treatment unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Regular use of ibuprofen may diminish aspirin’s ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Discuss with your doctor the possibility of using a different medication (like acetaminophen) to manage pain and fever. If you need to take ibuprofen, consult your doctor about taking immediate-release aspirin (not enteric-coated/EC) while also using ibuprofen. Ensure there is an interval of at least 8 hours between taking ibuprofen and aspirin, with ibuprofen taken before or after the aspirin dose. Do not raise your daily aspirin dose or alter the way you take aspirin or other medications without your doctor’s endorsement.

Overdose of Ibuprofen

In the event of an overdose where serious symptoms such as passing out or breathing difficulties occur, call 911. If the symptoms are less severe, contact your local poison control center immediately. In the United States, residents can call 1-800-222-1222 to reach their local poison control center, while in Canada, they can get in touch with a provincial poison control center. Overdose symptoms can include severe stomach pain, breathing difficulties, and extreme drowsiness.


Your healthcare provider may schedule lab tests or medical assessments (including blood pressure and kidney function tests) while you are using this medication. It is imperative to keep all medical appointments and lab visits. Consult your doctor for more comprehensive information.

Missed Dose

If you are employing this drug as part of a regular schedule (rather than “as needed”) and accidentally miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s near the time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed one and proceed with the following dose at the usual time. Do not double the dose in an attempt to catch up.

Storage of Ibuprofen

Keep this medication at room temperature, shielding it from light and moisture. Avoid storing it in the bathroom, and make sure to keep all medications out of the reach of children and pets. Properly dispose of this product when it reaches its expiration date or when it is no longer needed, in accordance with your pharmacist’s or local waste disposal company’s recommendations.

Leave a Comment