Ibuprofen, the generic name of one of the most common of the non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is also considered to be one of the less potent. This is not saying much for a family of anti arthritis drugs which accounts for 4,000 deaths
Despite being supposedly less powerful, ibuprofen has been linked to deaths among asthmatics, and has also caused severe stomach bleeding which has also been fatal, according to the Physicians' Desk Reference.
One of the most successful products to contain ibuprofen is Motrin, which is manufactured by
Upjohn. Dosages tend to be high because doctors see it as a less powerful NSAID, and the manufacturer says daily dosage can reach 3200g.
However, doses lower than this have caused serious reactions in the very young and the elderly. One 19 month old child became unconscious after taking between seven and 10 Motrin tablets, and could respond only to painful stimuli, but recovered four hours later. Elderly patients, for whom the drug is primarily designed, can suffer loss of memory and lose other cognitive faculties while on the drug. Ibuprofen should not be given to pregnant women.
Other high risk groups include those with a history of liver, kidney or heart problems as the drug has been shown to exacerbate the condition.
Common side effects include gastrointestinal problems, reported in up to 16 per cent in one
controlled trial, which included nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, cramps and vomiting. Other effects,
reported in between one and three per cent of users, include dizziness, headaches, skin rashes, tinnitus, edema, fluid retention and allergies.
One side effect less noticed, and rarely monitored, is blurred and diminished vision, brought to our attention by a WDDTY subscriber. When this occurs, the drug should be stopped immediately.