Drug and Supplements


Written by Dr. Divya Banu M and medically reviewed by Vedprakash Verma




When the pain gets unbearable, it is the medicine that we turn to. One of the most commonly available or prescribed painkillers is Ibuprofen which is available in the brand names of Brufen, Nurofen, Motrin, and Advil.

Introduction of Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen belongs to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) group which act on the substances in the body that are responsible for inflammation and its signs and symptoms. Thus, it prevents swelling, pain, and fever. It was introduced in the year 1969. It is derived from propionic acid and is a nonselective cox inhibitor.

It is available in many forms like tablets, capsules, gels, sprays, creams, and liquids. Sometimes, it is also available as a combination drug in which it is combined with another drug to perform a specific action. Though it is available over-the-counter too, it is advisable to get it based on doctor’s prescription.

Uses of Ibuprofen

As this drug reduces inflammatory signs and symptoms (mainly pain), the following are the conditions it is usually used for:

  • Fever: Like after vaccination, flu, etc.
  • Pain due to sprain and strains due to sports injuries.
  • Inflammatory conditions of bone and muscles like rheumatoid or osteoarthritis (in rheumatoid arthritis, it is equally effective with Diclofenac, Aspirin).
  • Delayed progression of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Chronic degenerative diseases like Parkinson.
  • It is equally effective in patent ductus arteriosus comparing with Indomethacin.
  • Orthostatic hypotension due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cystic fibrosis to reducing swelling.

Dosage of Ibuprofen

It is available in 200, 400, 600 and 800 mg doses. 200 mg is prescribed for the children and the rest are for above 12 years. Usually, it is followed in thrice daily dosage (every four to six hours), after food. The maximum dose is 2400 mg per day.

Contradictions of Ibuprofen

  • Allergy to this medication.
  • Having a history or suffering from a stomach ulcer, as it can aggravate it.
  • Patients on low-dose Aspirin.
  • Patients with a history of liver disease or cardiovascular disease.
  • Asthmatics.
  • Bleeding stomach.
  • Crohn's disease.
  • Lupus patients.
  • Stroke patients.

Side Effects of Ibuprofen

Like every other drug, this also has some side-effects, and the most commonly noticed are as follows:

  • Dizziness & Nausea.
  • Stomach bleeding or ulceration.
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion).
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • A headache.
  • Rashes.
  • Salt and fluid retention.
  • Increased blood pressure.

Some serious and rare complications include:

  • Heart problems.
  • Ulcer in the esophagus.
  • Constriction of bronchial muscles.
  • Confusion.
  • Activating asthma.
  • Allergic reaction.

In case of any unwanted reaction or symptom, it is better to consult your physician immediately to get treated.

Advantages of Ibuprofen

  • Worldwide availability.
  • Better gastrointestinal tolerance.
  • Easy measurable toxicity.
  • Less interaction with other drugs.
  • Broad range of uses.
  • The dose of oral anticoagulants and oral hypoglycemic drugs need not be altered.

Drug Interactions

A drug can interact with another drug to give either a beneficial effect or increase the side effects or provide unwanted reaction. Some of the interactions are as mentioned below:

  1. Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol while taking this medicine can exacerbate or increase the bleeding in the stomach.
  2. Paracetamol: A usual combination of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen is proved to be beneficial in children, but advisable to be taken based on doctor’s advice.
  3. It is also known to react with antidepressants, beta-blockers, and diuretics.
  4. Aspirin: It has been found that Ibuprofen can affect the antiplatelet action of Aspirin (low doses).
  5. Ibuprofen is most effective in decreasing body temperature by combining with Paracetamol in the initial hours.
  6. It increases the potential of antiepileptic drugs like Valproate and Phenytoin.

Ibuprofen Overdose

As Ibuprofen is available over-the-counter too, people are more exposed to an overdose of it due to consumption without medical advice. Though the life-threatening complications are rare, it can range from mild to fatal complication. The commonly seen symptoms are nausea, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, ringing in the ear, nystagmus (involuntary eyeball movement).

The rare severe symptoms include GI bleeding, cardiac arrest, seizures, respiratory depression, decreased heart rate, liver problems, etc. High dose of 400 mg/kg can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, renal toxicity, and cardiovascular complications. The therapy for this includes decontamination of the stomach using activated charcoal, gastric lavage. Voluntary vomiting is not recommended though.

Special Considerations of Ibuprofen


Taking it during the first trimester can affect the baby and hence, should be avoided totally. Even later, it is best to avoid it and if at all required, should be taken with doctor’s consent.


As it is found to be passed through breast milk, it is better to avoid during breastfeeding also.

Though Ibuprofen is one of the valuable pharmacological therapy available over-the-counter for multiple diseases and is a commonly taken drug for pain, it is advisable to have a detailed knowledge about it before consuming it so that any unwanted effects can be avoided. When in doubt, you can consult a physician online with the help of online medical platforms and be aware and updated.

Last reviewed at: 20.Feb.2019



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