Specific Issues With Ibuprofen

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Ibuprofen

Before taking ibuprofen, it's important to be aware of the following:
  • All NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, may worsen high blood pressure or cause high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before taking ibuprofen. Your case may require particular caution.
  • All NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, may cause congestive heart failure or swelling. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice unexplained weight gain or swelling. Also, ibuprofen should be used with caution in people with heart failure.
  • All NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, may cause problems in the stomach and intestines, including bleeding (known as gastrointestinal bleeding), stomach ulcers, or holes in the stomach or intestines. These problems can lead to serious complications or even loss of life. If you have a history of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding, it's extremely important that you discuss this with your physician before taking ibuprofen. Taking ibuprofen in such cases requires extreme caution. To decrease the chances of these problems occurring, take the smallest effective dose for the shortest period of time. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding, including:


    • Stomach pain
    • Indigestion
    • Black, tarry stools
    • Vomiting blood.


  • People taking NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, can suffer kidney damage. This is more common in the elderly and people with kidney disease, heart failure, or liver problems. It is also more common in those taking diuretics or ACE inhibitors.
  • People taking ibuprofen can suffer liver damage. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you notice things such as nausea, tiredness, lethargy, itchy or yellowing skin, abdominal pain (or stomach pain), or flu-like symptoms.
  • NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, may cause allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you notice things such as hives, unexplained rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face and throat.
  • In rare cases, people taking ibuprofen can develop a very serious rash. If you notice an unexplained rash or blisters, fever, or itchy skin, stop taking the ibuprofen and call your healthcare provider.
  • While rare, cases of meningitis have been reported in people taking ibuprofen. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop any possible meningitis symptoms, such as high fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty looking into bright lights.
  • If you are an alcoholic or drink alcohol frequently, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to starting ibuprofen. Alcohol can affect the way the liver works, indirectly affecting the ibuprofen.
  • NSAIDs can cause an increase in liver enzymes. Therefore, your healthcare provider may recommend that you have a blood test that assesses your liver function before starting ibuprofen and 12 weeks after treatment has started.
  • Ibuprofen has been known to cause anemia. If you are taking ibuprofen for an extended period of time and show signs of anemia, talk with your healthcare provider.
  • Problems with vision may occur in people taking ibuprofen. If you notice any changes in your vision, such as blurry vision or changes in color vision, contact your healthcare provider.
  • You should not take ibuprofen with any other NSAID, as this may increase your risk of any of the problems discussed above. There are many NSAIDs available with or without a prescription; make sure to read labels carefully. Some examples of NSAIDs are naproxen (Naprosyn®), naproxen sodium (Aleve®, Anaprox®, Naprelan®), diclofenac (Cataflam®, Voltaren®), indomethacin (Indocin®), nabumetone (Relafen®), oxaprozin (Daypro®), celecoxib (Celebrex®), meloxicam (Mobic®), etodolac (Lodine®), ketoprofen, ketorolac (Toradol®), and others. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list of these medications.
  • Ibuprofen is a pregnancy Category C medicine, meaning that it could potentially cause harm to your unborn child. If you are pregnant, you should take ibuprofen only if the benefit outweighs the possible risk to your unborn child. Taking ibuprofen in the third trimester of pregnancy may cause injury and even death to the developing fetus. If you become pregnant while taking ibuprofen, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Ibuprofen and Pregnancy for more information).
  • You should not take ibuprofen while nursing. Therefore, if you are nursing and taking ibuprofen, talk to your healthcare provider about whether to stop nursing or stop taking ibuprofen.
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