One of the treatment options for fever and pain is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and Ibuprofen is regarded as one among the most popular of NSAIDs. Due to widespread use for treating various conditions, it is also the subject to confusion. Many users are unaware of the medication, and how to use it effectively for the right conditions. Many are known to use the wrong medication for certain conditions and this could worsen the condition, in addition to triggering unwanted complications. Pharmacists are often asked this question – Is ibuprofen (Advil) a blood thinner? Subsequent sections throw light on this doubt and offer full clarifications, to help individuals use medications correctly to get the ideal or desired outcomes.

Overview of Ibuprofen
As outlined above, Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and non-selective COX inhibitor.  In use since approval almost five decades back, it was initially used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and it has the distinction of being the first NSAID to be permitted to go on sale as an OTC formulation. It is used to treat the following conditions, primarily due to its antipyretic, analgesic properties and the anti-inflammatory outcomes linked to the medication.

  1. It is used in managing pain that is linked to dysmenorrhea, and other conditions such as headache and soft tissue disorder. It is effective in managing pain that is either mild or moderate, and is also used in managing pain linked to dental procedure, and spondylitis. Pain from chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are also handled with NSAIDs.
  2. The mechanism of action of the medication and its properties makes it suitable cystic fibrosis, and it is known to bring down inflammation considerably.
  3. Patients with orthostatic hypotension are also administered ibuprofen, mainly because it brings about retention of sodium, and this helps manage acute orthostatic hypotension better.
  4. Orofacial pain, experienced by patients with dental conditions are also recommended Ibuprofen to deal with the pain.
  5. It is used as part of combination treatment along with opioid analgesics to treat severe pain. However, this is only under close medical supervision and is not to be taken without recommendation. For instance, a patient may be prescribed opioid analgesics, and the patient may sometimes assume that combining it with OTC Ibuprofen will help. This is to be only with specific recommendations.
  6. Ibuprofen is also a part of studies to determine its efficacy in other chronic health conditions and degenerative conditions. For instance, it is being studied to understand its effectiveness in patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In such instances, it is the subject of studies to check its prophylactic effect. Studies also extend to its role in patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

What’s the warning about Ibuprofen?

Certain drugs come with a warning from the regulator and it is necessary to check the warnings that are intended to alert those in healthcare about possible effects. Black box warnings are considered as the most serious among all warnings. Ibuprofen comes with three different warnings. The first is the possibility of increased risk in cardiovascular thrombotic events, that are attributed to all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This could sometimes, though rarely result in a life endangering condition. The risk is known to increase with long term use.

The second warning is for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The risk associated with this combination is possible heart attack or stroke. It is therefore not to be used before or this surgery. The third risk is the possibility of gastrointestinal risk. NSAIDs are known to trigger bleeding in the stomach, and serious gastrointestinal complications. This includes possible ulceration, wherein the stomach or the intestines end up with perforations. This risk is pronounced or stronger in elderly patients. The problem with this effect, is that it can develop at any time when it is used, and it is often without any kind of warning whatsoever.

Is ibuprofen (Advil) a blood thinner?

As outlined in the introduction, a common query on the minds of users is confusion about Ibuprofen as a blood thinner. To answer the question, it is necessary to learn all about the how Ibuprofen works. While the actual mechanism of action is not fully known, the outcomes are linked to the properties as an NSAID and COX inhibitor. Cyclooxygenase or COX, are enzymes that are responsible for the release of prostaglandins, which are in turn linked to pain and fever. These enzymes are also responsible for stimulating thromboxane which causes or triggers blood clotting. By inhibiting COX, the drug brings about a reduction in prostaglandins that are linked to the above actions.

Therefore, there is a clear answer to the question on the minds of patients. While it is essentially not a blood thinner, the outcomes of the drug have a somewhat similar effect. It slows down the time taken for the blood to clot. Since the outcome is somewhat similar, to a certain extent, it is often labelled as a blood thinner. This is one of the reasons why Ibuprofen is to be stopped when a person suffers an injury that could bleed. Since blood clotting is delayed, bleeding may increase.

What are the common side effects of Ibuprofen?

All medications come with the possibility of undesirable effects, and Ibuprofen is not an exception. Some of the commonly reported effects include impact on the gastrointestinal system. For instance, the patient may experience pain, or could end up with bouts of either diarrhea or constipation. Feelings of nausea and vomiting may also be experienced by patients. Other effects include possible dyspepsia, and a bloated feeling.  Apart from the effects in the GI system, the patient may also experience headaches, and could have outbreaks of rashes on the skin. The possibility of fluid retention exists due to the mechanism of action of the drug, while some are known to experience an unusual ringing sensation in the ear, or abnormal noise in the ear. It is important to bear in mind, that these are possible effects and it is not necessary that all patients will experience the same. A significant percentage of users are known to be free from all effects.

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