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"Is it bad to take ibuprofen every day?"
I take like 3 - 5 ibuprofen every day, sometimes I even take more when I go to bed at night. Can this damage my organs? I take them for headaches and minor aches and pains. Should I stop?
This question involves several issues. First and foremost, chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen is associated with a number of negative consequences. The usual dose of over the counter ibuprofen is 200mg per tablet and assuming you are taking this dosage then you are getting between 600-1000mg of ibuprofen on a daily basis. The good news is that the dosage prescribed by physicians can be significantly high than this, up to 2400mg per day. Nevertheless, frequent NSAID use can contribute to a number of issues. Perhaps the most common medical problem arising from chronic NSAID use is gastritis, or inflammation of the lining of the stomach. NSAIDs decrease the body’s ability to create a natural protective layer between the lining of the stomach and stomach acid. Without this protection gastric acid can damage the stomach and lead to pain and inflammation. Another frequent effect of chronic heavy NSAID use is damage to the kidneys. NSAIDs can decrease blood flow to the kidneys and over time lead to loss of function. If you are using ibuprofen every day to help control headaches, paradoxically the medicine itself may actually be contributing to them through a process call medication overuse headache, which is one of the most common causes of daily headaches. And these are just some of the most common side effects, but liver disease, strokes, and heart disease among other problems have also been associated with NSAID use. However, the good news is that the total dose you are using is relatively small and truthfully, despite all these potential harmful effects, NSAIDs are some of the safest medications we have. You should talk with your primary care provider more to find other options and have your pain and headaches better evaluated. Good luck!
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