Ibuprofen Side Effects

by on June 21, 2011


Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medication with such side effects as nausea, upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and dizziness. Additionally, some children with underlying conditions such as renal failure or asthma could experience some more serious side effects. Side effects in women who are pregnant can also be very dangerous.

Common Ibuprofen Side Effects

The most common side effects of Ibuprofen are:

  • Nausea
  • Dyspepsia (upset stomach and indigestion)
  • Gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding
  • Raised liver enzymes
  • Change in color or amount of urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Priapism (painfully erect penis or clitoris that does not return to its limp state)
  • Rash
  • Salt and fluid retention
  • Hypertension

The most serious of these ibuprofen side effects are due predominantly to excessive use.

Serious Ibuprofen Side Effects

ibuprofen There is a long list of other more serious side effects that require immediate attention, but occur very infrequently are:

  • Asthma
  • Bloody or black stools
  • Blurred vision or vision change
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Flu-like symptoms combined with a skin rash
  • Hearing problems (for example ringing in ears)
  • Itching or hives
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sinusitis
  • Swelling of feet or legs
  • Vomiting blood

Side Effects in Women

Most side effects are the same in both men and women; the only difference for a woman is during her pregnancy. It is very important that women do not take Ibuprofen if she is or believes she may be pregnant. The use of Ibuprofen during pregnancy has been shown to cause death of the infant at birth or slightly thereafter, as well as uncontrollable bleeding in the mother or the newborn.

Ibuprofen is also excreted in breast milk; therefore it is imperative that women who are breastfeeding discuss with their doctor the risk of Ibuprofen on their baby.

Side Effects in Children

There are several underlying conditions that some children may have that could cause some very rare and dangerous conditions. Some children who have mild to moderate asthma could get Ibuprofen-induced asthma attacks - although these are rare. In addition, children who have renal failure should not take Ibuprofen as it can cause extra damage to the kidneys.

Another side effect of Ibuprofen in children is in those who have peptic ulcer disease, as this can worsen the symptoms for the child, with the increased pain being in the area above the belly button. Finally Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which is a serious condition that causes lesions and blisters on the skin and mucosal membranes in their bodies, is directly related to Ibuprofen. This is a very rare condition, but can cause death from complications, especially if the symptoms are not recognized and the child continues taking Ibuprofen.

For most people Ibuprofen will be safe but in some women, especially those who are pregnant, Ibuprofen should be avoided. Also, there are some children who have certain underlying conditions such as peptic ulcer disease or renal failure, who should avoid taking Ibuprofen. Other than that, people who have concerns for their safety while taking Ibuprofen should discuss it with their doctor or pharmacist.