Ibuprofen warning: Painkiller can increase risk of three serious health conditions


Ibuprofen is an everyday painkiller for a range of aches and pains, including back pain, period pain, toothache. It belongs to a group of medicines called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although taking ibuprofen is safe in small doses, high-dose regimens can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure, warns the Mayo Clinic.

A blood clot can block a narrowed artery in the heart, triggering a heart attack.

Secondly, as Harvard Health explains, NSAIDs change blood flow in the kidneys, causing the body to retain more salt and water.


“That causes blood pressure to rise, which also boosts the risk of a stroke.”

Heart attack and stroke symptoms

It is vital to know the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke as the events require immediate medical care to prevent life-threatening complications.

According to the NHS, symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain – a sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest
  • Pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is travelling from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm is affected, but it can affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and tummy (abdomen)
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)
  • An overwhelming sense of anxiety (similar to having a panic attack)
  • Coughing or wheezing.

As the health body explains, the main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
  • Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

If you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance, it advises.

How much ibuprofen is safe to take?

According to Bupa, it is safe to take 200mg to 400mg three to four times a day.


How much ibuprofen is safe to take?

According to Bupa, it is safe to take 200mg to 400mg three to four times a day.

“Take no more than 1,200mg in 24 hours,” advises the health body.

As it explains, you can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin with or after food or milk.


“You can rub NSAID creams or gels onto your skin three times a day.”

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