Do you take too much ibuprofen? It could cause bleeding stomach ulcers and even heart attack, according to new study

A lot of people are overdosing on ibuprofen, according to a new study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety. However, this could take a toll on their health as it could lead to bleeding stomach ulcers and even heart attack.

The study was carried out by a team of researchers from Boston University who looked at the side effects of anti-inflammatory painkillers. In conducting the study, the research team looked at the data of 1,326 individuals who reported taking ibuprofen in the past month. The study participants accomplished online medication diaries every day for a week.

The results revealed that all of the participants took ibuprofen during the week. Eighty-seven percent of them only took over-the-counter, or nonprescription, versions. In general, 55 percent of them took ibuprofen at least three days within the week, while 16 percent took it daily. Aside from ibuprofen, 37 percent of the participants reported taking at least one other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) during the week, most often aspirin or naproxen. Moreover, less than 50 percent of them knew that all of the pills they were taking were NSAIDs.

Taking multiple forms of NSAID at the same time can greatly increase the risk of stomach ulcers or damage. It is generally recommended that adults should not take more than 3,200 milligrams (mg) of NSAID a day, or up to 400 mg of ibuprofren every four to six hours. It was found that 15 percent of adults take more than the recommended daily maximum of the painkillers. A lot of people also take the drug daily, which is an alarming habit that could play a role in the slow erosion of gastrointestinal walls. Frequent overdosing can lead to thinning of the protective stomach coating.

“The attitude that users can choose their own dose regardless of label directions, along with poor knowledge of dosing limits, is associated with exceeding the daily limit,” said David Kaufman, lead author of the study.

In the U.S., people take an estimated 30 billion doses of over-the-counter or prescription drugs like ibuprofen each year. However, even though NSAIDs are not addictive like more powerful painkillers, they still have side effects.

“These drugs can have serious side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and heart attacks, and are often taken without medical oversight because many products are available over-the-counter,” Kaufman explained.

Inflammation, which is an immune system response to tissue damage or foreign invaders into the body, is the most common cause of pain. NSAIDs prevent the production of certain enzymes that would eventually ignite the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, in order to cause inflammation. Furthermore, some of the chemicals in the prostaglandin family make sure that the stomach is coated in protective mucus to keep digestive acids from irritating or eating away at the organ tissue. Therefore, whenever you take extra anti-inflammatory drugs, more protection is being removed from the stomach.

The researchers believe that their findings emphasize the possible consequences of making NSAIDs widely available without a prescription.

Natural anti-inflammatory alternatives

Avoid the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs by choosing natural alternatives instead. (Related: Ibuprofen (Advil) Kills Thousands Each Year, Here’s What You SHOULD Be Using Instead.)

Foods that fight inflammation include the following:

  • Fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and cherries
  • Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
  • Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil

Read more stories and studies about the health risks of prescription drugs at

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