Ibuprofen first went on sale in 1984, and it has gained a reputation as a gentle, safe and secure younger brother. However, like most medications, ibuprofen can have side effects. “Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used for both pain control and temperature control,” he says. Kenneth Perry, MD, emergency physician in Charleston, South Carolina. “Although if taken properly, ibuprofen is safe, chronic use can cause some long-standing health problems.” Read on to see what daily intake of ibuprofen can do for your body. (And remember to talk to your doctor about any medications you take regularly.)
Ibuprofen works by inhibiting prostaglandins, natural chemicals that “include” pain and inflammation in the body. Ibuprofen is rated as the safest NSAID in terms of spontaneous drug reactions, and some people may find it easier to take aspirin because it requires a lower dose to work with and is less likely to cause side effects such as stomach irritation.
“NSAIDs such as ibuprofen have a black box warning that use may increase the risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events such as heart attacks and strokes,” Lean Poston, MD. “Users should use the lowest dose needed to relieve pain, stop taking NSAIDs as soon as possible, and consult with their healthcare provider if you need them for more than a week.”
Ironically, the first drugs that many of us turn to for headaches can cause headaches if used too often. “The use of painkillers such as ibuprofen, which regularly treats headaches, can cause a restorative headache when you stop taking the medication,” says Poston.
“Regular intake of ibuprofen can slightly raise blood pressure,” says Poston. According to Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure often has no symptoms; over time, if left untreated, it can lead to diseases such as heart disease.
Talk to your doctor about any other medications or supplements you are taking with ibuprofen. “Ibuprofen interacts with many over-the-counter herbs and supplements,” he says Dr. Daniella Plummer, PharmD. “When taken with other specific drugs, the active ingredient of any drug can increase, resulting in too much of it, which leads to increased side effects, or decreases, therefore, not getting the desired effect from the drug.”
“A noticeable side effect of taking this NSAID daily is swelling of the legs or body.” he says Magdalena Cadet, MD This swelling is caused by excess fluid entering the body’s tissues. This is a common side effect of NSAIDs, which usually disappears when you stop taking the drug.
“If someone takes ibuprofen regularly, the stomach loses its protective barrier and becomes more prone to injury,” he says. Barry Gorlitsky, MD. “Over time, this can lead to gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) or something more sinister, like a stomach ulcer or perforation, which can be extremely painful, lead to bleeding and can be life-threatening.”
Never take more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen; it can be dangerous. “Ibuprofen, if taken improperly, can also damage kidney cells,” he said. Dr. Perry. “This damage may be irreversible for some patients and require prolonged dialysis.”
“Your liver metabolizes everything you consume. Chronic ibuprofen can damage liver cells,” he says. Siddhart Tambar, MD. “Fortunately, the liver can recover and recover, but if the damage recurs, it can eventually lead to cirrhosis.”
“Ibuprofen acts by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), which is involved in platelet aggregation, which is important for the control of bleeding and hemostasis,” Monisha Bhanote, MD. “Daily long-term use of ibuprofen may increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.”