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What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug which is available both by over-the-counter and prescription [1]. It works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Ibuprofen reduces fever and treats pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury.

Prescription ibuprofen is used to relieve pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints) and osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints) [2]. It is also used to relieve mild to moderate pain, including menstrual pain (pain that happens before or during a menstrual period). 

Nonprescription Ibuprofen is available for purchase over the counter in several forms, including tablets, concentrated liquid drops, chewable tables, and in liquid suspension. The maximum over-the-counter use is approximately 1200 mg per day, and under medical prescription, the upper limit for consumption may be as high as 3200 mg per day.

Ibuprofen Detox
Ibuprofen are not ‘addictive’ in the physical sense but there can certainly be a risk for a psychological dependency.

Can you get high on Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers. Like all other OTC medications, ibuprofen does have some potential for abuse – though it is not habit-forming and never considered dangerous when taken exactly as intended. 

Ibuprofen might be prescribed by a medical professional in very high doses to treat significant pain. This is a perfect option when it comes to treating pain in individuals who have struggled with opioid abuse in the past and cannot safely take opioid narcotic painkillers.

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Ibuprofen Dependency

Many people may find it essential to take painkillers, such as Ibuprofen, on a long-term basis in order to manage severe and chronic pain, just as joint pain from arthritis or back pain from an injury. While Ibuprofen is not psychologically or physically addictive, an individual may become physically dependent in order to keep their activity level by managing pain.

There are risks and physical side effects of Ibuprofen use and overdose that can happen without any warning while taking this medication. If you or your loved one is concerned about an Ibuprofen dependency or side effects that may be experienced while taking this drug, it is necessary to seek proper medical treatment and support. While an Ibuprofen dependency can be debilitating, there is hope in finding freedom from this. 

Causes of Ibuprofen Dependency

Someone may start taking Ibuprofen in order to manage mild to moderate physical pain. This may lead to the risk of developing a dependency or tolerance on the drug due to feeling as though they cannot function normally without the drug.

For some individuals, Ibuprofen may be a way of “numbing” not only physical pain, but also the emotional pain. Those who have struggled from a traumatic event or have unresolved emotional issues, their dependency on this drug may result in a psychological need to anesthetize the pain.

Without professionally addressing and treating these possible underlying problems, a dependency on ibuprofen can persist. While this drug is not physically addictive, the continued use of Ibuprofen can introduce physical risks and unsafe effects.

Ibuprofen Dependency Symptoms & Side Effects 

The following side effects may happen as a result of Ibuprofen dependency:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness/Drowsiness
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, or extremities
  • Gastrointestinal ulceration/blessing
  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Itching or rash

Side Effects of Excessive Ibuprofen Use

Damage to the physical body can happen quickly and without warning. The issue is that ibuprofen abuse is often very difficult to detect because there are not many signs or symptoms linked with excessive use other than the long-term side effects.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [3], there is a reported case of a 48-year old woman who was admitted to the Medical intensive care unit with complaints of diffuse myalgias (diffuse muscular pain and tenderness) and severe generalized weakness of all extremities and polyuria for a few weeks.  

Upon further questioning, the woman revealed that she had been taking about 20 tablets of ibuprofen tablets daily (∼4 g/d) for the last 3 months to control her ankle pain. The woman developed severe hypokalemia (lower than normal potassium level in your bloodstream) and distal RTA (a disease that occurs when the kidneys do not properly remove acids from the blood into the urine) most likely due to ibuprofen use.

The most common long-term side effects of excessive ibuprofen use include:

  • Heart problems including an increased risk of heart attack
  • Permanent liver damage
  • Permanent kidney damage
  • Bleeding of the bowels and stomach lining

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Ibuprofen Detox Withdrawal

If someone has developed an addiction to Ibuprofen, they may experience mild side effects if suddenly discontinuing the OTC drug. Because Ibuprofen is not an addictive drug, these effects are minimal but may include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Increased depression
  • Increased levels of pain

Ibuprofen Overdose

Whenever we hear the word “overdose,” images of powerful prescription medications probablyor hard drugs come to mind. And chances are, you’ve never even thought about an ibuprofen overdose, however, it turns out that this relatively mild pain reliever, it can put your health in danger.

As the most used over-the-counter (OTC) painkilling ingredient there is, ibuprofen is used by millions of people every day to reduce fever symptoms, as a headache remedy, , for chronic bone and joint pains, muscle aches, PMS cramps and so on. 

Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in many of the most popular painkillers available on the market today, including Motrin, Advil, Nuprin and Rufen. In 2013, ibuprofen-containing Advil reached sales volume of approximately $490.9 million in the U.S. alone.

Ibuprofen detox
Abusing over-the-counter medicines or pain relievers such as Ibuprofen can lead to dependency or use of more dangerous drugs down the road.

Most, if not all, painkillers also interfere with normal functions of the nervous system, changing the ways that our nerves communicate feelings of pain when they happen in certain parts of the body. Ingesting this drug can come in handy when you’re sick, injured, or recovering from surgery. Unfortunately, it’s also overused by most people, potentially leading to many side effects and even poisoning.

In some instances, someone might experience an ibuprofen overdose if someone takes more than the recommended dosage. In fact, in one study of 1,326 ibuprofen users, 11 percent exceeded the daily dosage limit. In other cases, it’s not the dosage that’s the problem — it’s that the person has a medical condition that stops him or her from absorbing the drug’s active ingredients normally.

Symptoms of Ibuprofen Overdose

Common side effects of ibuprofen include stomach upset, indigestion, and cramping. These minor side effects will commonly go away after a short amount of time. It’s best to take these medications with food to minimize these symptoms.

Knowing when you or your loved one is experiencing an overdose is important. Although ibuprofen is a typically safe medication when used correctly, it can poison the body if large enough amounts are taken.

Symptoms of ibuprofen overdose include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure and weakness

  • Damage to the kidneys, with little to no urine produced
  • Agitation or confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Ulcers and bleeding in the stomach
  • Severe drowsiness or even coma

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  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Onsite Medical Detox Center
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Personal Development Events

Mixing Ibuprofen and Alcohol

A lot of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications cannot be combined with alcohol and may cause serious side effects when ingested at the same time as alcohol. Ibuprofen (also called by its brand-name Advil) is one of these medications. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) [4] warns that taking alcohol and ibuprofen around the same time can lead to several adverse health effects. Drinking alcohol while ibuprofen is in your system could cause stomach bleeding, stomach upset, and even liver damage

Kidney damage can be severe and even life-threatening when you are taking alcohol and ibuprofen together. Taking ibuprofen and alcohol together should be avoided when you suspect you have underlying health issues. Prescription pain relievers can also contain ibuprofen. 

Some cold and cough medicines can contain ibuprofen. Long-term ibuprofen use has been medically reviewed. Wellness professionals, using peer-reviewed studies, oversee such placement in product development, ensuring safety. Taking any painkiller has been medically reviewed, but when combined with alcohol, it is never recommended.

Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Ibuprofen 

Several risks can happen when alcohol and ibuprofen are taken simultaneously. These risks are lower when smaller amounts of alcohol are consumed but are still a factor. The more alcohol used with ibuprofen, the more likely it is that severe side effects will happen.

Some of the risks of mixing Ibuprofen and alcohol include:

Gastrointestinal bleeding

  • A possible side effect of long-term ibuprofen overuse is bleeding within the stomach or intestines; when alcohol is mixed with Ibuprofen, the risk of internal bleeding increases. Anyone vomiting or defecating blood and believing they may be experiencing internal bleeding should immediately seek medical help.

Kidney damage

  • Ibuprofen can affect the kidneys but is not likely to cause long-term damage. When mixed with alcohol, however, the damaging effects of ibuprofen on the kidneys increase. Combined with the dehydration often encountered with extreme alcohol use, ibuprofen can lead to kidney damage. Over a long time, alcohol and ibuprofen use can lead to severe kidney problems and may cause serious long-term health problems.

Impaired responsiveness

  • Ibuprofen can lead some individuals to feel drowsy, typically from the relaxation that happens with decreased pain levels. Alcohol also leads to reduced alertness. When these two substances are combined, it can lead to increased drowsiness and reduced alertness. This decreased alertness can increase the probability of injury and may cause dangerous situations if someone decides to drive. The sleepiness may be present, even if their alcohol levels show safe driving.
Ibuprofen Detox
It’s best to not take Ibuprofen with alcohol. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can cause severe stomach bleeding, especially if taken at higher doses for long periods of time.

Increased heart rate

  • Some studies show that taking Ibuprofen and alcohol simultaneously can lead to a fast heart rate. A rapid heart rate can cause minor side effects like dizziness and may lead to more serious medical problems if any underlying lung or heart condition.

Increased risks for older adults

  • As people age, their bodies cannot break down alcohol as effectively as when they’re young. Smaller amounts of alcohol at an old age can cause more significant interactions with ibuprofen, leading to increased risks and dangers.

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Alcohol and Ibuprofen Detox Withdrawal

Alcohol and Ibuprofen detox is a safe, medically supervised setting where someone can safely detox from alcohol and other substances while getting the proper medical treatment needed to guarantee the most comfortable detox experience possible. 

The staff will provide 24/7 care and supervision while the body, especially the liver, clears itself from alcohol. They will also be ready and able to intervene in the event of a severe medical emergency as a result of alcohol and Ibuprofen detox withdrawal.

As the person enters detox, they will undergo a professional medical evaluation. Here, a medical professional will assess the severity of the alcohol and Ibuprofen detox withdrawal symptoms in addition to the physical and mental health. Then, professionals will work closely with the client to develop an individualized medicallyassisted alcohol and Ibuprofen detox plan to effectively meet the clients’ needs. 

Alcohol and Ibuprofen Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol and Ibuprofen detox withdrawal refers to symptoms that may happen when someone who has been drinking too much alcohol and taking Ibuprofen more than the recommended dosage suddenly stops drinking alcohol and taking the OTC drug. 

Alcohol and Ibuprofen detox withdrawal symptoms may vary significantly from one person to another but may include any of the following physical and psychological alcohol and Ibuprofen detox withdrawal symptoms:

Alcohol and Ibuprofen Detox Withdrawal SymptomsPhysical

  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Shakiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Appetite loss
  • Pale skin
  • Tremor
  • Seizures

Alcohol and Ibuprofen Detox Withdrawal SymptomsPsychological

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Feeling depressed
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Nightmares
  • Extreme agitation
  • Hallucinations

Find the Right Ibuprofen Detox Treatment at We Level Up NJ

Someone who has become dependent on or addicted to over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen should seek professional assistance. Drug treatment programs are designed to support drug-dependent individuals who detox and experience Ibuprofen detox withdrawal symptoms medically.

During your rehabilitation, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. 

We Level Up NJ provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our medically-assisted Detox Program. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Ibuprofen detox
Overcoming an OTC drug dependency and abuse can be difficult, but it is far from impossible.

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[1] NIH –

[2] NCBI –

[3] NCBI –

[4] NIDA –

[5] We Level UpWhat Is Substance Use Disorder