Ibuprofen Side Effects

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

The use of ibuprofen can give rise to a number of side effects and the medication should be taken at the lowest possible dose and for the shortest duration needed to control symptoms. Some of the common side effects of ibuprofen include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating, abdominal pain and indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fluid retention
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic reactions that may cause symptoms ranging from a rash to hypersensitivity reactions such as angioedema, aggravation of asthma, breathlessness and even anaphylaxis which may be life threatening.
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach and upper intestines. This may lead to upper abdominal pain and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disorder such as belching, vomiting, and nausea. In severe cases, peptic or duodenal ulcers may develop in the mucosal lining of the stomach and the upper intestines.
  • Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. This leads to malaena or the passing of black, tarry stools that are actually caused by blood passing from the stomach and intestinal walls into the gut and feces. A person may also vomit blood (hematemesis). The blood may be recognizable as blood or it may resemble ground coffee if iron in the blood has been exposed to the gastric acids for some time and become oxidized.

Taking ibuprofen in high doses for long durations may also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

In some women, a long duration of use may also cause infertility.

Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc

Sources

  1. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/painkillers-ibuprofen/pages/introduction.aspx
  2. https://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/~/media/SATFiles/MedsForPain-March2012/IbuprofenFactsheetMarch2012.ashx
  3. http://www.usp.org/sites/default/files/usp_pdf/EN/USPNF/errata467Ibuprofen.pdf
  4. http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/datasheet/i/IbuprofenArrowcaretab.pdf

Further Reading

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