Ibuprofen: The dark side

IbuprofenStates of pain and inflammation are becoming so common in Australia that it’s almost unusual for a person not to be taking some kind of pain relieving medication. Paracetamol, codeine, ibuprofen, aspirin, they’re all a common sight in most kitchen or bathroom cupboards these days. But these medications only treat symptoms, they don’t resolve the cause. It’s rather like putting a band aid on a gaping wound that clearly needs stitches – but more importantly, by suppressing the symptoms these drugs potentiate and feed the disease cycle.

Pain killers don’t just kill the pain

There’s a real risk that long term use can also kill the patient. Clinical research shows that use of ibuprofen significantly increases risk of heart attack[1], likely due to its effects on blood pressure and blood viscosity .[2]

  • Further studies indicate that patients who take NSAIDS have a higher chance of ulceration of the stomach and duodenum.
  • Women increase their risk of miscarriage if they take ibuprofen during pregnancy
  • There is evidence to suggest that long term NSAID use drastically increases renal cell (kidney) cancer likelihood.[3]

Paracetamol deemed “ineffective” for lower back pain & osteoarthritis

Analysis of research studies found that paracetamol used for lower back pain & osteoarthritis was ineffective. The researchers concluded that its prescription for chronic pain conditions should be “reconsidered”. Even more concerning, the study authors note;

We also found ‘high quality’ evidence that paracetamol increases the risk of having an abnormal result on liver function tests by nearly fourfold”.[4]

There are other options

Fortunately, there many natural options to choose from. Herbs like Turmeric have been shown to be at least as effective as ibuprofen at controlling pain and inflammation, but without the side effects.[5] Whether it’s discomfort stemming from arthritis, headaches, period pain, fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions, natural remedies are extremely successful  at getting to the root cause, thus reducing the symptoms in the process.


Nepean Naturopathic Centre – making health easy


[1] E L Fosbo, et al. (2009). Risk of myocardial infarction and death associated with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) among healthy individuals: a nationwide cohort study. Clinical Pharmacological Therapy. Feb;85(2):190-7. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

[2] Macdonald, T.M et al. (2008). Effect on blood pressure of lumiracoxib versus ibuprofen in patients with osteoarthritis and controlled hypertension: a randomized trial. Journal of Hypertension. Aug;26(8):1695-702

[3] Eunyoung, C et al. (2011). Prospective Evaluation of Analgesic Use and Risk of Renal Cell Cancer. Archives of Internal Medicine. 171(16):1487-1493

[4] Machado, G et al. (2015). Efficacy and safety of paracetamol for spinal pain and osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo controlled trials. British Medical Journal. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1225 (Published 31 March 2015)

[5] Kuptniratsaikal, V et al. (2014).