The active ingredient in ibuprofen tablets is itself called ibuprofen. It is also referred to as ibuprofen sodium or solubilized ibuprofen. It works by counteracting the hormones that cause pain and inflammation in the body.
Ibuprofen is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and according to them it is safe and effective when used as prescribed. It is classified under a group of pain relievers and fever reducers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Ibuprofen may be the only active ingredient in drugs used to reduce fever, pain or inflammation caused by conditions like the common cold, headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps or minor injury, according to RxList.
Possible side effects of ibuprofen include allergic reactions, chest pain, shortness of breath, bloody or tarry stools and nausea. The FDA recommends taking ibuprofen tablets with milk or food if stomach upset occurs.
Ibuprofen should not be taken by women in their last trimester of pregnancy, people preparing to have heart surgery or those who are allergic to it or any other NSAIDs like aspirin. People over the age of 60 and those with high blood pressure, ulcers, heart or kidney disease are also discouraged from taking ibuprofen.