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Is It Safe to Take Ibuprofen and Codeine?

By Lee Johnson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Ibuprofen and codeine are available in some medications as a combined tablet and therefore are safe to take together. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used for the relief of pain, and codeine is an opioid pain reliever and cough suppressant. In combination, these medications can be used to relieve pain associated with migraines and headaches, as well as other conditions such as neuralgia and fibrositis.

Ibuprofen is a drug used for conditions such as arthritis, muscle pain, menstrual pain and migraines. The drug interrupts the cyclo-oxygenase substance, which is responsible for creating many chemicals in the body in response to an illness. By stopping these chemicals from being created, the pain and inflammation associated with the conditions is reduced. Patients should check with a doctor before taking ibuprofen if they have experienced liver or kidney problems, heart problems or blood in their stools prior to taking the drug. Ibuprofen can cause heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea.

Codeine is technically classed as a weak narcotic, similar to morphine. Doctors are still not sure how exactly codeine works, but it is known that the drug binds itself to the brain’s opioid receptors, which are responsible for producing the feeling of pain. This makes codeine an effective form of pain relief, because it increases the brain’s tolerance to the pain. Codeine also has a marked sedative effect. As a result of this effect, alcohol can cause problems when combined with the drug.

Codeine is often used in combination with drugs like aspirin to greater increase the pain relieving qualities. This is the reason ibuprofen and codeine can be found in combined medications. Codeine can cause lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and nausea.

Ibuprofen and codeine in combination provide relief from pain associated with non-serious arthritis, tendinitis, period pain and neuralgia. Most of the side effects associated with the combination can be attributed to codeine, and these include abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea, drowsiness and constipation. Ibuprofen and codeine may not be suitable for patients with a history of stomach disorders or bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease; decreased liver or kidney function; allergies; or blood clotting problems. The combination should not be taken by anybody under 12 years old, who has ever had a peptic ulcer, or who is in the third trimester of pregnancy.

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Discussion Comments
By croydon — On Dec 30, 2013

@Ana1234 - I think it can become addictive because it gradually loses potency if you use it too often. I mean, that's really the definition of addiction. It's when you have to take increasing amounts of something to get the same effect.

If you have a chronic condition, like migraines and ibuprofen works for you the first few times, it is definitely possible to take it too often and gradually lose the effect.

And too much codeine is the same. Generally, it's just a good idea to take as few drugs as possible, especially if the condition you're taking them for is a long term one.

By Ana1234 — On Dec 29, 2013

@Iluviaporos - I don't think it's that easy to get addicted to those kinds of painkillers, just because they don't really give you a rush or anything like that. I mean, I've never had to try the stronger stuff, but they always show people getting happy on it on TV, so I assume it makes you feel really good and that's where the addicting factor comes into it.

But aside from feeling better from a headache or whatever, over the counter medication doesn't have that kind of effect.

By lluviaporos — On Dec 28, 2013

Apparently it is possible to get addicted to ibuprofen, and I know it's possible to get addicted to codeine, so I would be extra careful about taking ibuprofen with codeine in the same tablet.

I mean, I don't think that makes it extra addictive or anything, but if you get too used to taking both of them all the time it could be dangerous.

The last time my mother went to the doctor for her arthritis, the doctor told her that she had to be careful about taking ibuprofen too often for it, since she could possibly get addicted.

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