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How Does Ibuprofen Work

Ibuprofen is a anti-inflammatory drug that is commonly available over the counter for the relief of pain, fever and inflammation. The drug is derived from propanoic acid and it was discovered in the 1960’s by Andrew Dunlop and colleagues, who worked for the research arm of a pharmaceutical company in the UK. Originally the drug required a prescription, but after showing to be relatively safe and well tolerated it was permitted for sale over the counter. Let’s find out how this medicine relieves pain, inflammation and fever in the human body.

How does ibuprofen work?
Ibuprofen inhibits the activity of enzymes known as cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2). The COX-2 enzyme is responsible for converting arachidonic acid to a chemical known as prostaglandin H2, which can also be converted to other forms of prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are known to have a major role in causing inflammation and pain in the body. By preventing the prostaglandins from being created the ibuprofen prevents the symptoms from occurring.

Did you know?
Ibuprofen can usually be taken in standard doses without any side effects. However, some minor side effects such as nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, bleeding from the nose and dizziness can occur. When the drug is taken against the directions or in prolonged and larger doses more serious side effects can occur. This can include gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

The inhibition of COX-1 is thought to be responsible for some of the unwanted side effects common to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen. The development of drugs that only inhibit the COX-2 enzyme will be able to prevent some of these problems.

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