Side effects of ibuprofen 

Ibuprofen can cause a number of side effects.

For this reason, take the lowest possible dose of ibuprofen for the shortest possible time needed to control your symptoms.

Common side effects of ibuprofen include:

  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • vomiting (being sick)
  • diarrhoea (passing loose, watery stools)
  • indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • tummy (abdominal) pain

Less common side effects include:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • fluid retention (bloating)
  • raised blood pressure
  • gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
  • a stomach ulcer
  • allergic reactions – such as a rash
  • worsening of asthma symptoms by causing bronchospasm (narrowing of the airways)
  • kidney failure

Less common side effects can also include black stools and blood in your vomit. These side effects can indicate that there is bleeding in your stomach.

See the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine for a full list of side effects.

If you feel unwell after taking ibuprofen or have concerns about an ibuprofen side effect, seek advice from your GP or pharmacist, or call NHS 111.

Increased risks

Taking ibuprofen, particularly at high doses over long periods of time, can increase your risk of:

  • stroke  when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed
  • heart attacks  when the blood supply to the heart is blocked

In women, long-term use of ibuprofen might be associated with reduced fertility. This is usually reversible when you stop taking ibuprofen.

Ability to drive

Ibuprofen is unlikely to affect your ability to drive safely, although some people may feel dizzy after taking ibuprofen. If you experience dizziness, do not drive.

Reporting side effects

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you are taking.

It is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

See the Yellow Card Scheme website for more information.

Page last reviewed: 08/07/2014

Next review due: 08/07/2016