How Does Ibuprofen Work

IbuprofenIbuprofen, most commonly known as Motrin or Nurofen, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It’s usually prescribed as a pain killer and to reduce fever, but it’s also prescribed to relief the patients from the symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, and dysmenorrhea.

Not many people know exactly how does ibuprofen work, therefore, in this post I’m going to give an explanation “in English” about the ibuprophen course of action.

First of all, in case a part of the body is injured, or there’s an infection somewhere in the body, it’s obvious that the protective mechanism will be triggered. White blood cells and antibodies will accumulate at the location of injury causing the symptoms that most of us know: swelling, redness, pain, heating of that particular area, and/or fever. The role of pain is to bring to us attention that something is wrong with that particular area, and also to take action in taking care of the problem. Once we are aware of the situation, pain is no loger necessary, but sometimes it becomes unbearable.

The inflammatory response in case of an infection or injury is brought about by prostaglandins. These are lipid compounds which have as main role to mediate some of the strong psysiological effects. Almost any nucleated cell produces them, and they are found in most human tissues.

So, how does ibuprofen work in a case like this? What does it have to do with it? It simply inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins, intervening in the action of the cyclo-oxygenase enzyme. This results in an antipyretic (fever reductor) and painkiller effect.

Now that I have put into view how does ibuprofen work, there’s another aspect that I’d like to outline here. The aspect of the side effects.

Although this drug is commonly known, being present in almost any drug cabinet of any home, not many people are aware of it’s unwanted course of action. This being said, some of the side effects associated with the consumption of ibuprofen are: gastrointestinal problems which can include, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal bleedings and/or ulcerations. Due to its antiplatelet and vasoconstrictor effect, ibuprofen can cause hypertension, nose bleeds and in cases of overdosage, sever internal bleedings. That’s why you should know that the maxiumum daily dose of ibuprofen for an adult is 1,200 mg.

Some of the more severe side effects of this drug are heart failure, renal failure, bronchospasm (that’s why it’s contraindicated for patients with asthma).

One of the paradoxical side effects which occured in patients treated with this drug is headache. Although it’s a drug designed for this, in rare cases it can cause it. Ibuprofen can also cause photosensitivity and some patients can develop allergic reaction to it.

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