How to Take Ibuprofen Safely

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Ibuprofen safety tips.
Ibuprofen safety tips. (Image: RonnieB at Morguefile.com)

Ibuprofen is an effective over the counter medication, but it can pose risks for some individuals. In a previous eHow article, I addressed the topic of how to take acetaminophen safely, and in this article I want to discuss how to safely consume ibuprofen, another popular pain reliever found in many over the counter medications, such as Advil and Motrin. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. (Other medications that fall into this category include aspirin and Naproxen, which is the active ingredient in Aleve.)

All of these non-sterioidal anti-inflammatory medications, including those containing Ibuprofen, are effective for reducing fever, inflammation and pain. In fact, these are the primary benefits of Ibuprofen. However, there are also potential side effects. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about ibuprofen safety as it relates to you and your personal medical history, you will want to speak to your doctor. Read on to learn more.

Never exceed the recommended dosage of ibuprofen for you. (Consult your doctor about what the right dosage would be for you in a particular situation, because Ibuprofen is actually available in a variety of dosages.) Note: because Ibuprofen is taken to reduce aches and pains, inflammation and fever, people sometimes take more than the recommended dosage in the hopes of further reducing their symptoms or reducing their symptoms faster, but this is not advisable. Also, do not consume products containing ibuprofen too frequently.

Ibuprofen is not recommended for pregnant women, so if you are currently pregnant, please avoid taking medications containing Ibuprofen. (Breastfeeding women are not officially cautioned against taking it, so you will need to use your personal judgment and discretion in that area. However, you should be aware that some lactating women do opt not to use it.)

Be aware of the potential side effects that some individuals experience when taking ibuprofen. These include gastrointestinal distress, such as heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or even ulcers. Other people have reported developing headaches, rashes and a ringing in the ears after taking a product containing Ibuprofen. If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking it and call your doctor immediately.

If you are allergic to aspirin or Naproxen, you should also avoid taking Ibuprofen, as these are all NSAID medications, and there is a strong possibility that you may be allergic to all NSAIDS.

If you have a history of congestive heart failure or kidney problems or high blood pressure, you will also want to avoid taking Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS because of how they function in the body.

Tips & Warnings

  • People sometimes think that because a product is sold over the counter it must automatically be safe for all people to take. But as you can see from all the safety warnings listed above, not every over the counter medication is recommended for every individual. It is always important to consult your doctor and to take your personal medical history into account when taking any medication, including ibuprofen.

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