What You Should Know About Ibuprofen and the Risk of Overdose

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is widely found in many over-the-counter pain relief medicine, such as: Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin. Its main purpose is to relive the body of pain and swelling, and can also decrease the hormones that cause inflammation. In addition, it also affects the nervous system and alters the way our nerves interpret the feeling of pain in certain areas of our body.

Ibuprofen overdose

Ibuprofen can be used for various issues, such as: headaches, fever symptoms, muscle aches, joint pains, and PMS cramps. While it serves a vital role in relieving several conditions, it is important to use it with caution, as an overdose can lead to several side effects and complications.

How An Overdose Occurs

Basically, Ibuprofen functions in the body by blocking the prostaglandin and controlling local hormones. One of the things that it does, is creating a necessary amount of inflammation in the body to relieve the pain, but too much of this could create a bigger cause of pain in the long run.

Ibuprofen controls the prostaglandins by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, which stops the amount of swelling in the body. Even though this is a good thing for stopping the pain at hand, it may also interfere with the normal functions of the blood, heart, and gut, which may grow far worse if taken in unnecessarily high dosages.

While there is a very low chance of dying from an Ibuprofen overdose, fatal risks lie within the conditions that it can cause, such as complications with your heart and intestine. Taking a high dosage of Ibuprofen, after a heart bypass surgery for example, can cause a fatal heart attack or stroke. It can also mess up your digestive system and cause serious stomach or intestinal bleeding.

While normally these effects occur when taking more medicine than recommended, an overdose can also happen the body struggles with normally absorbing the drug, due to a prior medical condition. If this may be the case for you, consult your doctor before taking this drug.

Other side effects can come from taking this painkiller when taking in combination with other medicines, such as: blood pressure medications or steroids, or when taking this, whilst consuming alcohol, as alcohol can alter the way a medicine functions, which can cause toxicity, and may cause stomach bleeding. If the need to take another medication arises, try to wait at least 30 minutes before you do so.


These effects can cause permanent damage to your digestive system and vital organs, but are not so easy to spot right off the bat. To monitor your body more easily, you may also want to watch out for these other symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Rashes
  • Trouble urinating
  • Significantly low blood pressure levels
  • The possibility of a seizure and coma in a highly critical situation

While an allergic reaction to Ibuprofen is a different situation, it can also be a point of alarm if not discovered early on. Some if the symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Skin hives
  • Swelling all over the face

The proper dosage

To be able to avoid these circumstances as much as possible, it is important to note the proper dosage of Ibuprofen, depending on your age or condition:

For adults who are dominantly healthy: the regular dosage would be 200-400 milligrams taken through the mouth every 4-6 hours to be able to relieve common illnesses. It is important to mind the gap between taking this drug again as the body utilizes this margin to expel a certain amount so its presence in the body can remain regulated. Up to 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen on the daily can be considered acceptable, but is still quite high. This should only be taken up to this level when symptoms are persistent and very uncomfortable. The key to effectively absorbing this drug is taking it with sufficient food in your stomach, such as after a meal.

For children: if you have a child under the age of 2, it is best to consult a pediatrician before letting them have an over-the-counter drug such as Ibuprofen. Dosages depend on your child’s height and weight.

For pregnant women: the last 3 months grow very crucial for a woman bearing a child, and taking Ibuprofen during your final trimester can cause problems with developing your baby. If you are struggling with pain, seek your doctor’s advice right away so you do not have to succumb to this painkiller. You may still want to continue avoiding this after conception, as it is unclear whether Ibuprofen can be passed on to breast milk.

People who should take caution: when dealing with the following certain health conditions, seek your doctor’s approval before taking Ibuprofen:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney problems
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Allergic reaction to certain medications

Your natural alternatives

If you often struggle with conditions that require immediate relief, Ibuprofen may just be serving a short-term resolution for a long term problem. Try to target more than just your specific problem and work on holistic development by turning to natural alternatives for help:

Diet and lifestyle. most of our pain can be caused by built-up inflammation inside the body. This is why it is important to add anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods into your diet, such as:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fresh fruits
  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Beans

It is also important to avoid foods such as: processed foods, refined sugars, refined oils, and fried foods. Other important lifestyle habits you should should definitely pursue are, getting more exercise in to help reduce joint muscles and digestive issues, getting enough sleep to reduce headaches and stress, and working on your posture to reduce pain around your hamstring, back, and neck.

Turmeric and ginger. When you find yourself with a bad headache, turn to turmeric which has an active ingredient called curcumin, which can serve as a potent pain relief medicine. Ginger, in addition, can help in combating inflammation associated with ailments, such as arthritis.

Magnesium. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte that aids in nerve signalling and fluid balance, and the lack of it can easily cause a bad headache. Food such as spinach, yogurt, and nuts are rich in this nutrient.

Essential oils. Essential oils can be used through relieving joint and muscle pains, and inhaling them to aid in several ailments such as fighting colds, headache, or treating a wound faster. You  want to opt for anti-inflammatory oils such as peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree.

Epsom salt baths. External remedies can also be good for relieving joint pains and muscle pains, as it goes straight to the skin to address the problem. Allow yourself to soak in a healing bath using epsom salt to relieve bodily pain.


Everybody experiences a certain level of pain that requires immediate relief, and using painkillers are helpful for most, however but it is important to always use it with caution. Try natural remedies instead and focus on adopting healthy lifestyle choices, that can help you heal yourself and your loved ones!

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