What are the Different Ibuprofen Side Effects?

wiseGEEK Writer

Ibuprofen, a very common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), has side effects that can be broken down into two classes. The drug can have mild and unconcerning side effects that are transient or uncomfortable enough to discontinue use of the medicine. Another class of ibuprofen side effects are much more serious and can require immediate medical attention. There’s usually no question about continuing use of the drug in the future; it must no longer be used if a serious side effect occurs.

Ibuprofen can cause stomach pain in some people.
Ibuprofen can cause stomach pain in some people.

As effective as ibuprofen can be to treat pain and inflammation, it can also be challenging for some people to digest. Even a single dose may cause some stomach pain, and multiple doses may result in acid indigestion, diarrhea, mild to moderate stomachache, or nausea. Some people also report increase in flatulence when they use the medicine. Taking ibuprofen with food may minimize its effects on the stomach, but this isn’t always the case, and for a few people, ibuprofen side effects that affect the stomach outweigh the benefits of taking the drug.

Ibuprofen is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Ibuprofen is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Another mild ibuprofen side effects is a sense of dizziness. This is less common than those adverse effects on the stomach. Other people report itching of the skin or mild rash. Additional moderate effects include a sense of anxiety or worry, vision that is blurred, or tinnitus, otherwise described as a sense that the ears have a ringing sound.

When these ibuprofen side effects occur, people might want to contact their doctors before taking more doses. Especially if the medicine has been recommended to treat a condition, it may be important to ascertain that it’s worth continuing it. Doctors may be able to recommend or prescribe something else that has fewer side effects and is equally effective.

With more serious ibuprofen side effects, medical help needs to be secured immediately. One danger with this medication is chance of allergic reaction. Allergy to ibuprofen could be expressed as hives or extreme itching or rash on the skin. People may have a swollen throat, mouth, face, or tongue. Breathing can be labored and wheezing or asthma may occur.

Additional side effects suggesting severe reaction include signs of intestinal bleeding like blood in stool or black stools. Extreme vomiting with blood in it, or vomiting that looks the grounds of coffee is of great concern. People may also develop jaundice and have yellowing in the whites of the eyes or in the skin especially on the face. Some people develop a rash and very painful stomachache. Long-term use might cause persistent and easy bruising, and some people get an extremely stiff neck, suffer seizures, and have flu-like symptoms.

Other concerning ibuprofen side effects include infrequent urination and vision problems. Any symptoms of chest pain or changes in balance are also of concern. Though these side effects are rare, when people take any medicine they should be aware of potential signs of danger so they can get appropriate care if needed.

An ibuprofen allergy may include the development of hives.
An ibuprofen allergy may include the development of hives.

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