What Does Ibuprofen Do?


Quick Answer

Ibuprofen is an analgesic referred to as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, which can be useful for pain relief, aching muscles, back pain, headaches and pain associated with arthritis. Doctors can also recommend ibuprofen for menstrual pain and symptoms associated with the flu like fever and pain.

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Full Answer

Ibuprofen works to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation by blocking prostaglandin production. The body makes the hormone prostaglandin, which causes the symptoms of pain and swelling, when there is damage to tissues as a result of an injury or infection.

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medication that is taken orally. People should follow either the manufacturer's implicit instructions or their doctor's advice when taking this pain killer. Ibuprofen should be taken as needed or at its lowest dose to avoid possible complications, like stomach bleeding. Some possible side effects are nausea and diarrhea.

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