The Ibuprofen risks in four chronic disease groups you may not be aware of

Ibuprofen risksCC: RawPixel at Unsplash

As a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID), Ibuprofen is available in abundance. Because it’s an off-the-shelf product that doesn’t require any interactions with a pharmacist, it’s also easy to access. Its mode of action is ingenious; by acting as something called a cox-2 inhibitor, it disrupts a step in the complex chain of events that causes inflammation in your body. Unfortunately, this same action also means Ibuprofen risks are severe for some chronic disease groups.

Here are five of them:

Ibuprofen risks amongst asthmatics

Although most asthmatics can take NSAIDs, Ibuprofen risks are present for some. Those with a history of rhinitis and nasal polyps are at risk of developing bronchospasm if they take the drug. Interestingly, it’s common amongst asthmatics with an aspirin insensitivity too. Most physicians advise avoiding NSAIDs altogether, even if they’re structurally dissimilar to Ibuprofen. In some cases, bronchospasm becomes severe enough to lead to respiratory arrest.

Crohn’s disease and Ibuprofen

The consensus when it comes to Crohn’s? There are a lot of Ibuprofen risks. Most of them arise as the mechanism of action that inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 also inhibits normal mucus production throughout the gut. Unfortunately, the amount of acid you’re producing stays the same. Alongside Crohn’s disease, this significantly increases your risk of developing an ulcer.

Chronic kidney disease and NSAIDs


Some people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) should avoid NSAIDs, including Ibuprofen. This usually applies to those with kidney function of 50% or below. But, even if you fall into a higher functioning group, it’s worth asking your physician about alternatives. Ibuprofen is nephrotoxic, which means it could accelerate CKD’s progression and may also increase your risk of heart disease.

Exercise caution if your liver is failing

Again, this is one where your ability to take Ibuprofen will depend on what your physician says. And, it all depends on the severity of your disease.

Most of us can avoid Ibuprofen risks because our livers produce CPY450. These are enzymes that metabolize NSAIDs, allowing them to move on and work their pain-relieving magic. Depending on how severe your liver disease is, you may not produce enough CPY450 to cope with Ibuprofen. Although liver injuries arising following using the drug are rare, they do happen.

For most of us, Ibuprofen is safe to use. Like all NSAIDs you should aim for moderation, purely because of the peptic ulcer risk. If you’re ever unsure, consult a professional.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.