Side effects of ibuprofen and paracetamol to never ignore

Side effects of ibuprofen and paracetamol to never ignore

Do you often reach the pain-killing pill to get rid of backaches, headaches, or old shoulder injury?

Is the use of painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen affecting your health? 

The pain killers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and paracetamol are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Their ingestion is safe for mild to moderate joint pain, muscle soreness, headache, toothache, or menstrual pain.

However, health experts warn that the use of these drugs for an extended period may have negative effects on your health.

This article discusses the side effects of paracetamol and ibuprofen, never to ignore.

Let’s dive in.

Side effects of ibuprofen 

1. Decreased renal functions 

Ibuprofen can cause renal damage, which is why you should never take more than the prescribed dose.

Taking higher doses of ibuprofen for a long time may lead to significant damage to the kidneys.

Ibuprofen inhibits the enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LO).

By doing so, ibuprofen reduces the production of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins support proper renal functions and help maintain homeostasis.

When the production of prostaglandins decreases, it causes blood flow to the kidneys to be reduced.

This, in turn, leads to decreased renal functions.

The signs of decreased renal functions are:

  1. Frequent or less urination
  2. Swelling of the hands, legs, and feet
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Dehydration 

2. Stomach ulcers 

It is no secret that ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers.

Here’s how:

Ibuprofen blocks the enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX).

Blocking this enzyme results in decreased production of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins protect the stomach lining from damage by acid and digestive enzymes.

In reduced quantities, these prostaglandins can no longer protect the stomach lining, causing damage to it.

With time, this damage accumulates and may lead to gastric or intestinal bleeding or ulcer. 

The problem is that even when the stomach ulcers are no longer present, they may recur.

This happens when ibuprofen is taken in regular doses for a longer period.

Also, if you drink alcohol excessively, it increases the risk of developing stomach ulcers.

Ibuprofen can make the situation worse.

If you feel stomach pains or notice bloody stools, consult your doctor right away. 

3. Gas and bloating 

When you take ibuprofen, the gas forms inside your body and make you feel tight and full, it may also result in constipation, burping, and abdominal pain.

Seek your doctor’s recommendations to get relief from gas and bloating. 

4. Increased risk of heart attack and stroke 

According to Mayo Clinic experts, ibuprofen could increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or high blood pressure.

The use of ibuprofen over a long period of time can cause the arteries to constrict, thus increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke.

This is simply because they reduce the flow of blood throughout your body, thus restricting oxygen and nutrients to vital organs.

If you have heart attack or stroke symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, sudden weakness, or numbness on one side of the body, seek immediate medical help.

5. Allergic reactions 

Although this side effect is rare, still some people may experience allergic reactions.

If you notice the symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face or throat, immediately stop taking ibuprofen. 

Other side effects of ibuprofen:

  • Ringing in the ear
  • Drowsiness and sleeplessness 
  • Tingling sensations at the limbs
  • Fluid retention 
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Is paracetamol intake safe or not? 

Paracetamol, which is an active metabolite of acetaminophen, is considered a safer alternative to ibuprofen.

However, taking higher doses of paracetamol can also cause several side effects in the body.

According to Justin Hayde-West, Pharmaceutical Manager, Bupa UK, “the side-effects from paracetamol are rare when you take the recommended dose.”

The bottom line: do not take more than the prescribed dose.

And if you are already taking paracetamol for a long period, consult your doctor to know if it is safe for you or not.

Side effects of paracetamol

1. Stomach pain

Long-term use of paracetamol or intake of higher doses may cause stomach pain.

If you experience any discomfort or pain after taking paracetamol, talk to your doctor about it.

2. Gastrointestinal bleeds

Another common side effect of paracetamol is gastrointestinal bleeds.

Taking higher doses for longer periods might increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeds.

The risk is especially high if you already have a condition of stomach ulcers, gastritis, or active bleeding.

3. Hepatotoxicity 

The daily ingestion of paracetamol also gives rise to significant hepatotoxicity.

On average, an intake of greater than 4g per day for over five days shows liver disorders. 

Other side effects of paracetamol:

  • Acute renal injury 
  • Liver failure
  • Hypersensitivity 
  • Trouble breathing
  • kidney failure
  • Dermatological issues such as pruritus, Steven Johnsons syndrome, or rash 
  • Cardiovascular problems like hypertension, edema, tachycardia, and chest pain


Pain killers are the best ways to relieve your body aches and muscle sores.

It takes almost 2 hours to produce the maximum effect.

If you want to take pain killers for any reason, you must remember that although these are over-the-counter medications.

You must still be cautious while taking them because they may have severe side effects.  

Talk to your doctor before taking painkillers for a long period of time.

And, if you have any questions, don’t forget to ask your doctor before taking painkillers.

All the best!!

Also read: 8 Drug Side Effects You Should Never Ignore