Ibuprofen is an everyday painkiller for a range of aches and pains, including back pain, period pain, toothache. It belongs to a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs temporarily reduce the amount of prostaglandins made by your body. Your body releases prostaglandins when you have an injury. These hormone-like substances contribute to inflammation, which includes swelling, fever, and increased sensitivity to pain. It also treats inflammation such as strains and sprains, and pain from arthritis.
It’s available as tablets and capsules, and as a syrup that you swallow. It also comes as a gel, mousse, and spray that you rub into your skin. Ibuprofen is combined with other painkillers in some products. It’s an ingredient in some cold and flu remedies, such as Nurofen Cold and Flu.
People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (other than aspirin) such as ibuprofen may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than people who do not take these medications. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time. Do not take an NSAID such as ibuprofen if you have recently had a heart attack unless directed to do so by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke; if you smoke; and if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Get emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part or side of the body, or slurred speech.
What side effects can Ibuprofen cause?
Ibuprofen may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- gas or bloating
- ringing in the ears
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately. Do not take any more ibuprofen until you speak to your doctor.
- unexplained weight gain
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- swelling of the abdomen, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- swelling of the eyes, face, throat, arms, or hands
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- excessive tiredness
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- loss of appetite
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- flu-like symptoms
- pale skin
- fast heartbeat
- cloudy, discolored, or bloody urine
- back pain
- difficult or painful urination
- blurred vision, changes in color vision, or other vision problems
- red or painful eyes
- stiff neck
Ibuprofen may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Can I use Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) during pregnancy?
Taking ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) is generally not recommended when you’re pregnant, especially during the third trimester 30 or more weeks – unless it’s prescribed by a doctor. This is because there might be a link between taking ibuprofen in pregnancy and some birth defects, in particular damage to the baby’s heart and blood vessels. Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid ibuprofen during pregnancy, especially if they’re 30 or more weeks pregnant. Taking the medication at 30 weeks and beyond could cause premature closing of a baby’s ductus arteriosus.
The ductus arteriosus is a normal fetal artery connecting the main body artery (aorta) and the main lung artery (pulmonary artery). The ductus allows blood to detour away from the lungs before birth. Every baby is born with a ductus arteriosus.
Do not take ibuprofen around or after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless you are told to do so by your doctor. If you become pregnant while taking ibuprofen, call your doctor.
What other information should I know?
If you are taking prescription ibuprofen, do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.