It works by reducing hormones that cause pain and swelling in the body, according to the NHS. You can buy most types of ibuprofen from drugstores and supermarkets, but there are some drugs that you should not mix it with, or you may experience unwanted side effects.
It is safe to take ibuprofen with paracetamol or codeine, according to the NHS.
However, the health agency warns that you should not take ibuprofen with similar pain relievers such as aspirin or naproxen “without first talking to a pharmacist or doctor.”
Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is a medicine used to reduce pain, fever, or inflammation.
Naproxen is a medicine that reduces inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles. It is used to treat diseases of the joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
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The reason you have to be careful when mixing them is that aspirin and naproxen belong to the same group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as ibuprofen.
If you mix these pain relievers together it can increase your risk of side effects like upset stomach.
Paracetamol is generally not considered a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
The NHS says most people can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, “but some people need to be careful about taking them.” For example, if you have problems with your heart, liver, kidneys, blood pressure, circulation, or bowels.
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This is because you should tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications before you start taking ibuprofen, according to the NHS.
These medications include blood thinning medications such as warfarin, high blood pressure medications, and steroid medications such as betamethasone.
The same goes for some antibiotics, antidepressants, and diabetes medications such as gliclazide, glimepiride, glipizide, and tolbutamide.
“Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements,” says the NHS.
There are also possible side effects of taking ibuprofen.
Common side effects of oral ibuprofen occur in more than 1 in 100 people. These include nausea, indigestion, and headaches.
There are also more serious side effects and you should call your doctor immediately if you experience them, according to NHS advice.
These include black poop or blood in your vomit, blood in your pee or not peeing at all, severe chest or stomach pain, and difficulty breathing.
Applying ibuprofen to your skin can also make your skin more sensitive than normal to the sun, according to the NHS.
Ibuprofen is not normally recommended during pregnancy unless prescribed by a doctor.
The NHS suggests that paracetamol is the best pain reliever to take during pregnancy.
“Ibuprofen is safe to take orally or on the skin if you are breastfeeding,” he adds.