Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer that also helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Taking this medication as directed on the packaging is relatively safe for most people. In some cases, a person may be tempted to take more than the recommended dose, thinking that it will provide additional benefits. Instead, taking more of this medication than is recommended could lead to a dangerous and potentially fatal ibuprofen overdose. Some of the possible signs of an ibuprofen overdose may include digestive disturbances, blurred vision, or seizures.
Digestive disorders are among the most common signs of an ibuprofen overdose. Some of these problems may include stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea. Blood loss may also occur, especially involving the stomach or intestines. Some people may also experience unsteadiness, drowsiness, or confusion.
Ibuprofen overdose may cause ringing in the ears, headache, or agitation. Seizure disorders may develop if too much ibuprofen is taken. More severe medical conditions such as respiratory problems may sometimes occur. Rapid heartbeat or cardiac arrest are also possible. Eventual organ failure may occur as the result of an ibuprofen overdose, especially after prolonged usage.
If severe organ damage occurs as the result of an ibuprofen overdose, complete organ failure may develop. In some cases, an organ transplant may be performed in an attempt to save the life of the patient. Unfortunately, many people die each year while waiting on an organ for transplant. If the kidneys are damaged, dialysis may prolong the amount of time a patient has before a transplant becomes vitally necessary.
A suspected ibuprofen overdose often requires hospitalization in order to stabilize the patient. Activated charcoal may be used to help absorb the medication, and it is common to have the stomach pumped after overdosing. This procedure has been reported to be very uncomfortable by many patients who have experienced it. If the ibuprofen overdose is thought by the medical staff to have been intentional, the patient may be admitted to a psychological ward and placed under suicide watch.
In rare cases, taking too much ibuprofen can lead to a severe allergic reaction, even if the patient has successfully tolerated the medication in the past. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include a rash, hives, and difficulty breathing. This condition can be fatal if not treated immediately and is considered to be a dire medical emergency.