For most people, taking Nurofen at the recommended dose and duration will not upset the stomach.
Nurofen contains ibuprofen, a pain reliever that belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).
Ibuprofen is gentle on the stomach when taken as directed.This means not exceeding the recommended dose, and not taking Nurofen for more than 3 days without the advice of your doctor.
You shouldn’t take ibuprofen if you have had a stomach ulcer or other stomach-related problem in the past. Seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist for other pain relief options.
- If you take Nurofen as directed on the pack, it’s unlikely to cause stomach problems
- If you take Nurofen as directed on the pack, it’s gentle on the stomach.
- Do not take Nurofen if you have ever had stomach ulcer or a stomach problem.
- See your doctor if you need long-term pain relief. Long-term use of NSAIDs can cause stomach problems in some people.
On rare occasions, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can cause mild stomach-related side effects such as indigestion, heartburn, nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, and diarrhoea. More serious side effects include ulcers, bleeding or tears in the stomach or intestine, but these are usually linked to taking NSAIDs at high doses (over 1200mg/day) for long periods of time (more than 3 days at a time).
The chances of experiencing one of these side effects are much higher if you have had stomach problems in the past – this is why you shouldn’t take Nurofen if you have ever experienced stomach bleeding or other stomach-related problems.
Not all NSAIDs are the same. Ibuprofen causes fewer side effects than other anti-inflammatory pain relievers when taken as directed on the pack. Over the counter dose and duration.
Clinical studies show that:
- At low doses, ibuprofen causes fewer side effects than other NSAIDs.
- Stomach-related problems are more likely to occur when NSAIDs are taken at high doses (over 1200mg/day) for long periods of time (more than 3 days at a time) a doctor or pharmacist for further advice if you need long-term pain relief.
Anti-inflammatory pain relievers like ibuprofen work by temporarily blocking the production of pain-causing chemicals called prostaglandins. At the site of pain, prostaglandins activate nearby nerve endings, which tell the brain the location and severity of the pain.
Prostaglandins also help to protect the stomach lining. In some people, blocking prostaglandins long-term can interrupt this protective mechanism and allow stomach ulcers to form.
When you take Nurofen as directed on the pack (short-term and at low doses), the production of prostaglandins is suppressed temporarily and there is very little chance that you will experience any stomach problems.
See a doctor or pharmacist for further advice if you need long-term pain relief.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health related matters please contact your doctor.
- Moore N et al. Clin Drug Invest 1999; 18(2): 89–90, funded by Boots Healthcare International (now owned by Reckitt Benckiser Plc).
- Masso Gonzalez EL et al. Arthritis Rheum 2010; 62(6): 1592–601.
- Castellsague J et al. Drug Safety 2012; 35: 1127–46.
- Schiff M et al. J Rheumatol 2004; 31: 1373–83.
- Henry D et al. BMJ 1996; 312: 1563–6.
- Rainsford K. Int J Clin Pract 2013; 67(Suppl 178): 9–20.
- Beers MH et al., editors. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 2nd Home ed. Whitehouse Station: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
- Grosser T, Smyth E, Fitzgerald GA. Chapter 34. Anti-inflammatory, Antipyretic, and Analgesic Agents; Pharmacotherapy of Gout. In: Brunton LL, Chabner BA, Knollmann BC (eds). Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 12th ed. Online edition. Accessed 24/4/14.
- Bjarnason I. Int J Clin Pract 2013; 67(Suppl 178): 37–42, funded by Reckitt Benckiser.
- TGA Australia. Core ibuprofen product information (2005).
- UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Consultation Document. NSAIDs and Coxibs – Questions and Answers..
- Bjarnason I. J R Soc Med 2007; 100(Suppl 48): 11–14.
- Rampal P et al. Int Med Res 2002;30: 301–8, funded by Boots Healthcare International (now owned by Reckitt Benckiser Plc).
- Bjarnason I. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2007; 26: 95–106.