How Does Ibuprofen Work?

The active ingredient in medications like Motrin®, Advil®, Genpril®, and Nuprin® is ibuprofen, which works on certain chemicals in the body called prostaglandins. These chemicals are known to play a role in pain and inflammation in the body. By inhibiting their activity, ibuprofen helps relieve pain, inflammation, stiffness, and fever.
Other medicines that work like ibuprofen are called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs). In general, people have no problems when taking these drugs; however, side effects are possible. Commonly reported ones include nausea, stomach pain, and heartburn. Less common but potentially serious reactions include kidney problems, liver damage, congestive heart failure, and allergic reactions.
(To learn more about how ibuprofen works, click Ibuprofen. This article also explains when and how to take this drug, what to do in cases of overdose, important safety information, and more.)
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