Ibuprofen is the most commonly used over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine. Nurofen is the most well known brand of ibuprofen. When it was first released it was available on prescription only. Now it is not only available in pharmacies it can be bought anywhere from supermarkets to service stations much to my disdain.
When can ibuprofen be taken?
Ibuprofen can be taken to reduce temperature (fever) and to reduce pain and inflammation due to headache, toothache, arthritis, period pain, cold and flu and general muscle pain. All ibuprofen works the same. There are no longer Nurofen boxes marked for different types of pain such as back pain, migraine etc as this was misleading for customers when there is no difference in the products.
When should ibuprofen not be taken?
Ibuprofen should not be taken if you are already taking another anti-inflammatory such as diclofenac (eg Voltaren), naproxen (eg Naprogesic) and high dose aspirin. Be careful not to double up by taking two different brands of ibuprofen or by taking plain ibuprofen as well as a cold and flu medication that also has ibuprofen in it.
Do not take ibuprofen when pregnant. In most cases it is best to avoid when breastfeeding also.
In most cases it should not be taken in those with kidney problems, heart problems and some stomach problems. Anyone with these issues or who is over 65 should ask before taking ibuprofen.
There are a lot of medicines that don’t go well with ibuprofen so if you take other medicines (including ones you buy from the supermarket or healthfood store) always check if it is ok to take ibuprofen with them. Sometimes ibuprofen may make the other medicine not work as well and sometimes combining ibuprofen with other medicines can lead to big problems like kidney failure.
How to take ibuprofen
For adults 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours (maximum 6 tablets per day) may be taken.
As concentrations of the children’s products vary always check the dose every time you give some to your child.
Side effects of ibuprofen
All medications can have side effects. Ibuprofen can cause problems with the gastrointestinal tract such as nausea, pain, heartburn and diarrhoea. It can also cause swollen ankles and rash amongst other things.
Eating before taking ibuprofen – it has recently been shown that this is not needed any more and food may actually slow down how quickly it works. However some people do have a sore stomach after taking ibuprofen and so they should still eat first.
Asthmatics – only about 10% of asthmatics have their asthma brought on by ibuprofen so most asthmatics can take ibuprofen.