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Side Effects of Ibuprofen & NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work great to reduce inflammation and pain. Ibuprofen and other COX-inhibitors belong to this group, but there are several negative effects of these drugs:

  • COX-inhibitors slow down the rate of protein synthesis…which negatively effects muscle tissue repair
  • COX-inhibitors almost completely stop the function of tenocytes, which are the cells in the body that produce packed, arrayed collagen, the material that becomes connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, etc.
  • COX-inhibitors impede bone re-calcification so are not good for fractures or bone healing

Dr. Bjorn Dimmen and Dr. Hakan Alfredson did research on these issues and a discussion on this work can be found here.

  • COX-inhibitors increase oxidative stress…that is, they increase the presence of ROS reactive oxygen species) which cause “chemical” damage to the body and negatively affect systemic inflammation. ROS are harmful to the body, and are the molecules that “anti-oxidants” combat . (This is why we are encouraged to have diets high in anti-oxidant rich foods).

Dr. Steven McAnulty did research on this and you can find information on his study here.

  •  COX-inhibitors are well known to be nephro-toxic. They are quite damaging to the renal cells of the body, and chronic use can result in enough kidney damage to require dialysis, and in some cases, kidney transplant.
  • COX-inhibitors are well known to cause G.I. ulcerations and stomach bleed if used frequently.

Other potential harmful effects of NSAIDs are:

  • NSAIDs may cause asthma patients to be at higher risk for having allergic reactions
  • Elderly are often at a greater risk of experiencing the negative side effects of NSAIDs
  • Some NSAIDs have caused concern over increased risk of heart and cardio-vascular issues
  • NSAIDs have numerous drug interactions with other medications
  • NSAIDs negatively affect kidney function (some cases progress to a need for dialysis or kidney transplant).
  • Some NSAIDs and prescription pain relievers can irritate the colon and/or cause constipation