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What Are the Effects of Ibuprofen on Asthma?

Ibuprofen, a common pain reliever, can have varying effects on asthma. For some, it may exacerbate symptoms, leading to wheezing or shortness of breath. However, individual responses differ. Monitoring your body's reaction is crucial. Curious about how ibuprofen interacts with your asthma? Discover more about this important topic and see what the latest research suggests by continuing with our in-depth exploration.
C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

Various medical studies have shown that the use of ibuprofen by those with asthma may increase the risk of a serious attack, decrease the risk of such an attack, or have no effect at all on a patient. The contradictory results of these medical studies suggest that the effects of ibuprofen on asthma are highly variable and cannot be predicted. Patients who have been diagnosed with asthma should carefully monitor their condition while taking ibuprofen. If the patient does not have an adverse reaction, it is generally safe to assume that that patient’s asthma will remain stable even when the patient takes this medication. Most of the time, the effects of ibuprofen on those with asthma can be predicted by whether a patient has had an adverse reaction to ibuprofen in the past.

Some medical studies have suggested that the effects of ibuprofen on asthma can cause a severe reaction in certain patients. Ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can trigger a severe asthma attack in some people. NSAIDs can prevent prostaglandin biosynthesis, which may cause the bronchial passageways to constrict. This can cause a particularly severe asthma attack that can possibly lead to the death of the patient. Patients who are sensitive to this medication are more likely to have an asthma attack after taking ibuprofen.


Though some patients can have a severe asthma attack after taking ibuprofen, other patients may experience a decrease in their asthma symptoms after taking this medication. A pediatric study conducted in 2002 compared the use of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, which is largely believed to be safer for asthmatic patients, and discovered that there was very little difference in the reactions of the pediatric patients to these medications. In fact, the effects of ibuprofen on asthma were found to be slightly less risky than the effects of acetaminophen on asthma. Though this study did not determine whether the reason for this was whether the ibuprofen decreased the risk of a severe asthma attack or whether the acetaminophen increased it slightly, the results clearly show that it is safe for most children to take ibuprofen if they have asthma.

An asthma inhaler.
An asthma inhaler.

For the vast majority of patients, there are no effects of ibuprofen on asthma. Most patients can safely take ibuprofen and do not have to worry about the drug causing a severe asthma attack. It is always a good idea for a patient to monitor their breathing carefully after taking this medication, but if there has not been an adverse reaction in the past, there is little likelihood of an adverse reaction after taking ibuprofen.

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Discussion Comments


@turkay1-- I think you should avoid ibuprofen if you can, especially if your asthma is severe.

I can't take any aspirin or ibuprofen because they give me an asthma attack. I once landed in the ER because of it. My doctor said that I can't have any of the over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers.


@turkay1-- Have you ever taken an NSAID before? If you have taken an NSAID before without problems, I'm sure you can take ibuprofen without problems too.

I didn't know ibuprofen can cause problems for asthma patients. I have asthma and I've taken ibuprofen many times before. I never had any issues, in fact, it actually helps me breathe better.

If you're not sure though, you shouldn't take the risk. Maybe you should ask your doctor about it.


I was thinking of taking some ibuprofen for congestion and throat pain, but after reading this article, I changed my mind. I don't think I want to take the risk of a severe asthma attack. I'll manage without it.

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