What are the effects of ibuprofen on the liver?

The liver can be damaged by overuse of ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen is an effective pain relief medication belonging to the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although the side effects are minor compared to many other pain medications, there is concern that the effect of ibuprofen on the liver will be negative and that complications may arise. It has been proven that overuse of ibuprofen can result in liver damage and those who have preexisting liver disorders are advised not to use ibuprofen.

An ultrasound can be used to investigate liver damage caused by ibuprofen.

The liver is critical for breaking down all drugs ingested by the body and is the main organ of ibuprofen metabolism. If the process is slow due to other factors, liver damage may occur. This is called drug-induced liver injury. In some cases, such as the effect of ibuprofen on the liver, inflammation of the liver leading to drug-induced hepatitis can also be caused. Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, fatigue, and dark urine. Anyone suffering from hepatitis should discuss taking ibuprofen with their doctor, as NSAIDs can put even more stress on the already damaged liver.

Ibuprofen should not be taken with alcohol.

There is an enzyme in the liver called alanine aminotransferase (ALT), which is released into the blood when liver cells are damaged or die. Too much ibuprofen can cause increased production of the enzyme. Some patients with hepatitis C have high levels of ALT even after taking the drug normally. Another reason people with hepatitis C and liver damage are advised not to use ibuprofen is because the effects of ibuprofen on the liver can put stress on the liver and increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

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While consuming the recommended dosage of ibuprofen is normally safe, taking more can lead to toxicity.

Although a negative effect caused by occasional normal doses of ibuprofen on the liver is rare, accidental overdoses can occur. People suffering from ailments such as arthritis may be tempted to overuse the drug when symptoms are severe, and there is also a danger of mixing it with alcohol. Prolonged use of NSAIDs or overuse can also put stress on the liver and worsen liver damage. As there are effective alternatives available, many experts advise patients with these conditions to avoid the pain reliever altogether.

Symptoms of hepatitis can include abdominal pain.

Severe liver damage from NSAIDs like ibuprofen is rare, and in the case of hepatitis, the incidence usually disappears once patients stop taking the drug. In general, there is not a great risk associated with the use of ibuprofen on the liver, but in certain situations, caution is necessary.

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