Ibuprofen is available to buy in a range of forms, from tablets and capsules to syrup, gel, mousse and spray. The usual dose for adults is one or two 200mg tablets three times a day. But all medicines can cause unwanted side effects.
The common side effects of ibuprofen taken by mouth happen in more than one in 100 people, says the NHS.
These side effects include headaches, feeling dizzy, feeling sick, being sick, wind and indigestion.
If these occur and start to bother you or don’t go away you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
In some cases ibuprofen can cause serious side effects.
The health body lists four to watch out for and advises calling a doctor straight away:
- black poo or blood in your vomit – these can be signs of bleeding in your stomach
- swollen ankles, blood in your pee or not peeing at all – these can be signs of a kidney problem
- severe chest or stomach pain – these can be signs of a hole in your stomach or gut
- difficulty breathing, or asthma symptoms that become worse
In rare cases, people can suffer a serious allergic reaction to ibuprofen.
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you’re wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You’re less likely to have side effects when you apply ibuprofen to your skin than orally.
But you may still get the same side effects, particularly if you use a lot on a large area of skin.
If you experience the milder side-effects of taking ibuprofen, the NHS recommends ways to cope.
If you experience headaches, make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t drink too much alcohol, and tell your doctor if they last longer than a week or are severe.
If you feel dizzy, stop what you’re doing and sit or lie down until you feel better. Avoid coffee, cigarettes and alcohol.
If you feel sick, stick to simple meals, and avoid rich or spicy food.
If you’re sick have small, frequent sips of water and don’t take any other medicines without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor.
If you experience wind, try not to eat foods that cause wind, like lentils, beans and onions, and eat smaller meals, eat and drink slowly, and exercise regularly.
If you have repeated indigestion stop taking ibuprofen and see your doctor as soon as possible.
The Commission on Human Medicines confirmed there is no clear evidence that using ibuprofen to treat symptoms such as a high temperature can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.