Active Ingredients

Ibuprofen – Effect, Application & Risks


Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or analgesic, i.e. a drug with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. In certain diseases, it is no longer a protective or warning function of pain and inflammation . In such cases, the use of painkillers , eg with the active ingredient ibuprofen, makes sense.

Medicinal effect & application

Pain and inflammation are extremely uncomfortable, yet they also have protective and warning functions that can be of vital importance under certain circumstances. The messenger substances released in the process (prostaglandins) transmit pain signals to the brain or activate immune cells, which fight invading pathogens.

Ibuprofen is used for the symptomatic treatment of pain, fever and inflammation, in acute joint inflammation (arthritis) including gout attacks and chronic joint inflammation, especially rheumatoid arthritis and chronic polyarthritis, irritation in osteoarthritis and spondylarthrosis (degenerative joint diseases and spinal diseases), inflammatory rheumatic diseases of the spine, e.g Morbus Bechterew, inflammatory diseases in soft tissue rheumatism and painful injury-related inflammation and swelling .

Ibuprofen is on the market in various dosage forms, such as tablets, capsules, granules, children’s juices, suppositories or ointments. The active ingredient ibuprofen is subject to the pharmacy requirement and can be purchased in pharmacies without a prescription up to a certain dosage. Preparations with a higher active ingredient content of ibuprofen, eg for the treatment of rheumatic diseases, require a doctor’s prescription.


Special care may be required when taking ibuprofen and other medications at the same time. Ibuprofen in particular can either strengthen or weaken the effect of other medications. A combination with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesics should be avoided. With the simultaneous administration of ibuprofen and oral corticosteroids, anticoagulants, eg Marcumar, SSRI (to treat depression ) or platelet aggregation inhibitors, eg ASA , there is a risk of bleeding or ulceration in the gastrointestinal tract.

If these factors occur, therapy with ibuprofen should be stopped immediately. The habitual use of ibuprofen and painkillers in general, especially a combination of preparations with different pain-relieving active ingredients, can lead to permanent kidney damage and kidney failure .

Ibuprofen must not be taken if you are allergic to the active substance or to another component of ibuprofen, if you have had an asthma attack in the past , swelling of the nasal mucosa or allergic skin reactions after use, if you have certain blood formation disorders, cerebral hemorrhage, stomach or duodenal ulcers or bleeding, stomach – Intestinal bleeding or gastric perforation in the past while taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with severe kidney or liver dysfunction, severe heart muscle weakness, in the last third of an existing pregnancy, when breastfeeding and by children and adolescents under the age of 15.

Patients with high blood pressure , diabetes , high cholesterol, smokers and elderly patients should be treated with ibuprofen under medical supervision in justified cases. Ibuprofen should only be used in certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus erythematosus and mixed collagenosis, or in some congenital disorders of blood formation, such as acute intermittent porphyria, after careful consideration of the benefit/risk ratio .

After major operations, known allergies, such as previous skin reactions to other drugs, hay fever , chronic swelling of the nasal mucosa, bronchial asthma, chronic respiratory diseases, impaired liver or kidney function and the use of ibuprofen, special medical care is required.

Risks & side effects

Taking ibuprofen can lead to headaches , dizziness , nervousness , stomach pain , bleeding in the stomach lining, gastrointestinal ulcers, nausea , vomiting , diarrhea and constipation . In particular, the use of ibuprofen in suppository form can lead to irritation of the mucous membranes, painful bowel movements and bloody mucous secretions.

If severe allergic reactions occur, such as skin rashes , redness and itching of the skin, mucosal lesions or rare severe hypersensitivity reactions, such as shortness of breath through to cardiovascular failure and shock, treatment with ibuprofen must be stopped immediately and the doctor treating you must be informed immediately be set, which will initiate appropriate medical measures.

Higher doses of ibuprofen in particular can cause central nervous disorders with fatigue , irritability and dizziness. In individual cases, the ability to react is changed so much that active participation in road traffic and the ability to work on and with machines are impaired. This applies in particular when consuming alcohol at the same time . Alcohol should generally be avoided during treatment with ibuprofen, as this can lead to unpredictable interactions.

The risks and side effects mentioned can, but do not have to, occur in every patient. If you take ibuprofen for a longer period of time, regular medical checks of the blood count, kidney function and liver values ​​are required. Due to the more frequent occurrence of side effects, medical supervision and, if necessary, adjustment of the dose of ibuprofen are required, particularly in older people.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.