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What Are the Contraindications for Ibuprofen?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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Contraindications for ibuprofen are defined as medical conditions or situations that make the use of this pain reliever inadvisable except under the direct supervision of a doctor. Some of these conditions include heart problems, kidney disease, and illnesses that cause digestive bleeding. Additional contraindications for taking ibuprofen include pregnancy, liver disease, and alcoholism. Patients who are scheduled for surgery are often advised to avoid pain relievers such as ibuprofen due to increased bleeding risks.

Cardiac problems and blood disorders are among the most common contraindications for ibuprofen due to the blood-thinning effects of this medication. Specific heart conditions that should be discussed with a doctor before taking products containing ibuprofen include high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. Those who have blood disorders such as anemia, hemophilia, or diabetes may not be able to safely use this drug. As ibuprofen thins the blood, many doctors ask patients to discontinue the use of this medication for several days or weeks prior to scheduled surgery.

Kidney and liver disease are contraindications for ibuprofen use. When these organs are not able to function properly, they are unable to adequately filter this medication from the body. This can cause further damage to organs that are already struggling to work well enough to support life. Excessive alcohol use can damage the liver, and taking ibuprofen can make this damage worse. A person who has a compromised immune system due to physical illness or medical procedures such as chemotherapy should check with a doctor before taking ibuprofen.

Medical conditions that have the potential for causing gastrointestinal bleeding are among the contraindications for ibuprofen, as the use of this pain reliever can worsen the damage and increase the bleeding. Ulcers in the stomach or intestines, hernias, or perforations in any part of the digestive tract are likely to require the use of a different type of medication. Those with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis should avoid all products containing ibuprofen unless advised differently by a doctor.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are typically advised to avoid ibuprofen due to possible negative effects on the baby. Anyone who has a history of sensitivity or allergic reactions to aspirin, ibuprofen, or other similar medications should avoid the use of all products containing ibuprofen. If allergic symptoms such as facial swelling, chest pain, or difficulty breathing develop after taking this medication, emergency medical assistance is required.

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Discussion Comments
By seag47 — On Oct 03, 2012

I've heard so many news stores saying that ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are so bad for you. It seems like they discover a new side effect every week or so!

This is terrible news to me, because when I have pain related to inflammation, ibuprofen is the only thing that works to relieve it. Acetaminophen does nothing at all, and this may be because it is such a safe drug to take.

If the pain is severe enough, I can go to my doctor for prescription pain killers. Besides ibuprofen, these are the only thing that help with intense pain.

By kylee07drg — On Oct 02, 2012

@DylanB – My doctor said that ibuprofen can raise your blood pressure. So, if you already have high blood pressure, you could run it dangerously high by taking ibuprofen.

Maybe you should take aspirin instead. I've heard that it helps with arthritis, and I know that people take aspirin to prevent a heart attack, so it's probably good for the heart. At the very least, it shouldn't raise your blood pressure.

By DylanB — On Oct 02, 2012

Why should people with high blood pressure avoid taking ibuprofen? I'm curious, because my pressure has been slightly elevated lately, and I've also been having arthritis pains. I've been tempted to take ibuprofen, but I need to know why I shouldn't first.

By Perdido — On Oct 01, 2012

I have a kidney disease, and until I read this article, I did not know why my doctor told me never to take ibuprofen or any other NSAID. Thankfully, I followed his advice blindly.

I didn't know that it could actually damage my kidneys even more than they already have been damaged by the disease. Now that I know why I can't take it, I won't even be tempted to try it when I have a headache.

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