top of page

Exploring Ibuprofen

Its toxicodynamics, and balancing benefits and risks

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a standard over-the-counter medicine which can be bought from supermarkets and pharmacies. It is primarily used for pain relief, such as back pain, period pain, toothaches, etc. It can also be used for arthritis pain and inflammation. It is available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, gels, and sprays for the skin.


The Toxicodynamics of Ibuprofen

Toxicodynamics refers to the biological effects of a substance after exposure to it. Scientists look at the mechanisms by which the substance produces toxic effects and the target organs or tissues it affects.

Ibuprofen works by stopping the enzymes that synthesise prostaglandins, which are a group of lipid molecules that cause inflammation, including symptoms like redness, heat, swelling and pain. Therefore, after the action of Ibuprofen, inflammatory responses and pain are reduced.

Ibuprofen targets organs and tissues, including the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, the central nervous system, blood and more.


Balancing the Benefits and Risks

Ibuprofen’s method of action means it is a safe and effective pain relief medication for most people. It is also easily accessible and easy to use. However, it is able to affect the target organs and tissues negatively and, therefore, can have serious side effects, especially if taken for an extended period of time and/or in high doses. They include heartburn, abdominal pain, kidney damage (especially for people who already have kidney problems), low blood count and more. Therefore, it is important to use Ibuprofen responsibly. This can be done by understanding and being well-informed about its effects on the body, particularly its impact on organs and tissues.

With caution and proper use, the side effects can be minimised. One of the easiest ways to lessen side effects is by taking the medication with food. Additionally, patients should take the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. If patients have a history of stomach problems, avoiding Ibuprofen and using alternatives is the best solution. Patients can also talk to their GP if they are concerned about the side effects and report any suspected side effects using the Yellow Card safety scheme on the NHS website.


Links to find out more:

https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/ibuprofen-for-adults/about-ibuprofen-for-adults/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/toxicodynamics

https://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/ibuprofen/ibuprofenh.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526078/



Written by Naoshin Haque

Project Gallery

bottom of page