Why Is ibuprofen Bad for You? 25 Side Effects

Reviewed on 2/14/2022

25 side effects of ibuprofen

Learn the 25 potential side effects of ibuprofen here.

Like every medication, ibuprofen has its side effects too. Because it is available over the counter, there is a high likelihood of inappropriate or excessive consumption.

Although some side effects of ibuprofen are mild, others may be serious. Serious side effects are more likely in people who consume the drug for longer periods or have certain underlying health conditions, including kidney, liver, or gut diseases.

How can you minimize the side effects of ibuprofen?

You can lower the risk of side effects due to ibuprofen by following these precautions:

  • Avoid excessive use of ibuprofen. You must avoid using ibuprofen or other pain medications now and then. Use the medication as per the label instructions according to your age and weight. It is preferable to use ibuprofen in the lowest doses that relieve your symptoms. Adults can take a maximum of 800 mg ibuprofen four times a day (3,200 mg in 24 hours). Doses may be altered depending on your general health and the presence of any underlying health conditions. Even while using appropriate dosages, avoid using the medication for more than three days unless prescribed by the doctor.
  • Avoid taking the medication on an empty stomach. Ibuprofen must be taken after eating food or with milk to avoid stomach upset. Some studies report that taking proton pump inhibitors (medications that reduce stomach acid secretion) may reduce gastrointestinal side effects of ibuprofen.
  • Be particularly cautious if you have underlying health conditions. Side effects of ibuprofen may be worsened if you are allergic to ibuprofen or have any underlying health conditions such as peptic ulcers, asthma, kidney disease, liver disease, or heart diseases. In such cases, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.
  • Treat the cause rather than just the symptom. Pain or fever are merely symptoms. It does not indicate specifically which disease you have. If your symptoms keep recurring or getting worse, seek medical advice instead of popping more ibuprofen pills.
  • Take special care while using other medications with ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can interact with other medications and increase their side effects or interfere with their action. For example, ibuprofen can increase the risk of bleeding when taken with aspirin or blood thinners. You must be cautious and seek medical advice when you take medications such as lithium, blood pressure or heart medications, and steroids while taking ibuprofen.

Does ibuprofen worsen COVID-19?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is presently no conclusive evidence that ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) worsen COVID-19 or increase the likelihood of getting the infection.

There have been several anecdotal reports and hypotheses that report ibuprofen increases the levels of an enzyme that is required for the entry of coronavirus. The FDA, however, has not expressed any guidelines regarding avoiding NSAIDs to prevent severe COVID-19

Nonetheless, the FDA states that if you are concerned about the harmful effects of NSAIDs, you may consult your doctor about alternative options to manage fever and pain.


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