Vicodin and Ibuprofen

by on June 7, 2012

Vicodin (Hydrocodone), a pain killer is sometimes combined with Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) which is a Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).  These drugs might also be found in combination medication (for example as Vicoprofen). However, the popularity of these medication has gone down in since 2002.

Other examples of NSAID's include: Aspirin, Naproxen, Ketoprofen, Celebrex, Vioxx, Meloxicam, Nambumetone, Salsalate, Indomethacin.

Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, are a good example of a situation where Vicodin and Ibuprofen may used for their pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits. An injured patient may go to their healthcare provider and receive a prescription for 3-7 days of Vicodin.  Typical doses might include 5/500 taken 2-3 times daily. This would include 5 mg of Vicodin and 500 mg of Tylenol. In addition to this medication, the patient could safely add Ibuprofen 600-800 mg up to three times daily. Always consult your healthcare provider when mixing over-the-counter and prescription medications.

In this example, the Vicodin is for pain relief while the Ibuprofen decreases swelling. Injured joints oftentimes swell as a normal response to injury. Swelling can increase the amount of fluid and blood flow that the joint receive. Swelling also increases the amount of pain and discomfort the person feels. Taking an NSAID can help to control inflammation ( swelling). One side effect of Ibuprofen is that it may increase the risk of developing a bruise or appearance of hematoma.   The goal with a sprained or strained joint is to immobilize the joint, rest it, and control inflammation.  With soft tissue injuries, the acronym “R.I.C.E.” is oftentimes recommended. It stand for the following:

  • R: Rest
  • I: Ice (or cool packs)
  • C: Compression
  • E: Elevation

Other Recommendations

Because Ibuprofen (and other NSAID's) decrease platelet “clumping”, talk to your healthcare provider before taking it if you have clotting disorders, deep vein thrombosis, a history of heart attacks, a history of strokes, a history of TIA's, or other blood or liver diseases.

Always consult your pediatrician or pediatric nurse practitioner when giving children NSAID's (especially Aspirin). Aspirin given to children can increase their risk of getting Reye's Syndrome.  Inform you hea lthcare provider of all medications that you take because there may be interactions with Vicodin, Ibuprofen, and NSAID's.