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What Are the Pros and Cons of Ibuprofen Use?

Ibuprofen, a widely used anti-inflammatory drug, offers swift pain relief and reduces fever effectively. However, its consumption can lead to gastrointestinal issues or kidney problems with long-term use. Balancing benefits and risks is key. How does ibuprofen fit into your health regimen? Consider the full picture to make an informed decision. What's your experience with this common medication?
Alex Tree
Alex Tree

Ibuprofen is both versatile and available in over-the-counter forms, making it one of the most commonly used medications in multiple countries. This medication can treat pain of various levels and reduce inflammation. It is often sold in generic forms and available in most drugstores without a prescription from a health professional. On the downside, ibuprofen use is associated with some severe side effects, and long-term use can be harmful to a person’s organs. In some cases, the use of ibuprofen can be fatal, especially if the user does not know signs of severe side effects or of kidney failure.

This medication is used to temporarily relieve many kinds of pains, from menstrual cramps to migraine headaches. In addition, another recommended ibuprofen use is treating various kinds of arthritis and other inflammatory problems. Ibuprofen is sometimes included in other medications to relieve symptoms of the common cold or other illnesses that require multiple approaches. The medication can be given to children as young as four years old with a doctor’s approval.


Ibuprofen is available over the counter in most developed countries. This means that ibuprofen use can be cheaper than prescription medications, which require a doctor visit. Furthermore, even beyond the possible savings enabled by not having to pay for extra doctor visits, the medication itself is often cheaper to purchase than prescription medications.

Ibuprofen is often used to relieve fever.
Ibuprofen is often used to relieve fever.

Like most medications, ibuprofen has side effects, some of which can be severe or life threatening. For example, some people experience difficulty breathing, severe swelling of body parts, or unexplained aggression. It is important to call emergency services if a person experiences blueness of the lips, fast eye movements that he or she cannot control, or dizziness. Such side effects are considered severe and can result in death if not attended to by a medical professional. In addition, even some of the mild side effects can be very uncomfortable, such as constipation, ringing in the ears, and gas or bloating.

Ibuprofen can help ease menstrual cramps.
Ibuprofen can help ease menstrual cramps.

Long-term ibuprofen use is associated with kidney injury, sometimes leading to kidney failure. People who already have failing kidneys should not use ibuprofen. Gastrointestinal bleeding is another risk of taking ibuprofen for extended periods of time. It is very important to keep in contact with a health professional when a person believes taking ibuprofen for a long time is necessary. A doctor can assess the situation and determine if there is a safer medication to consume.

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Discussion Comments


@ZipLine-- That's actually a very common side effect. You shouldn't take high doses of it for that reason and always make sure to take it on a full stomach.

I have a relative who took ibuprofen every day for years and was eventually diagnosed with liver disease. I'm not sure if it was because of ibuprofen completely but the doctor told him never to take ibuprofen again.


@fify-- I agree with you, it's a great pain reliever. I take it for joint pain, it works well.

The only complaint I have is that sometimes it gives me upset stomach. I'm not sure why but if I take ibuprofen two or three days in a row, I develop acid reflux. I have to take a lot of anti-acids for my stomach to feel better.

Does everyone else experience this or do I have an over-sensitive stomach?


Ibuprofen is the only pain reliever that works for my migraines and menstrual cramps. I've tried other pain relievers, but this is the best. It works very fast and is effective for a long time.

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    • Ibuprofen.
      By: Richard Seeney
    • Ibuprofen is often used to relieve fever.
      By: evgenyatamanenko
      Ibuprofen is often used to relieve fever.
    • Ibuprofen can help ease menstrual cramps.
      By: drubig-photo
      Ibuprofen can help ease menstrual cramps.
    • Ibuprofen can be used to soothe sunburn.
      By: Amy Walters
      Ibuprofen can be used to soothe sunburn.
    • Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to bleeding risk associated with ibuprofen.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to bleeding risk associated with ibuprofen.