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Alternatives to Ibuprofen For Pain Relief

Q. How much ibuprofen can a person take and for how long before needing to talk to a doctor? I have read that stomach upset may indicate problems. I can’t really take any NSAID or aspirin unless I eat a 'mini-meal' at the same time. Otherwise, my stomach hurts.

I was taking 1600 to 2400 mg/day of ibuprofen for weeks before surgery, and I expect to need some medicine to help with pain relief throughout my physical therapy.

As long as I eat with each dose, my stomach feels OK, but I'm trying to lose weight. I am also concerned about what the medicine could be doing to my insides. Any information you can provide on other approaches to pain relief would be greatly appreciated.

A. Ibuprofen, like all NSAIDs, can be irritating to the digestive tract. Stomach ulcers are always a risk. Other complications include high blood pressure, kidney damage, fluid retention, heart failure and toxic skin rash. The high doses you are using require medical supervision.

Topical NSAIDs may be a safer alternative. Canadian pharmacies sell Pennsaid (diclofenac and DMSO) if you have a prescription. You may also find fish oil or herbs like boswellia, ginger or turmeric beneficial.

We are sending you our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis in which we discuss the complications of NSAIDs and options like Pennsaid and non-drug approaches.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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