The long-term effects of ibuprofen include an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly if dosage is high. Women can experience a loss or reduction in fertility with long-term use, although it is possible to reverse that by stopping the medicine, according to the National Health Service.
A 2013 study published in the British medical journal The Lancet equates long-term use of ibuprofen as being just as likely to lead to heart attack risk as use of Vioxx, a prescription drug that was taken off the market because of similar risks. The study found that, given 1,000 people with an average risk for heart disease, three above the norm have an otherwise avoidable heart attack as a result of using ibuprofen for a year, notes Forbes.
It is worth mentioning that people who are taking ibuprofen as a long-term pain management treatment do so to fight arthritis, and the average arthritis patient is older, more overweight and less able to exercise than the average person, states Forbes. All of these trends place them at above-average risk for heart disease. The fact that ibuprofen could make that risk even greater is a potential danger that arthritis sufferers should discuss with their physicians.