Millions of Brits treat common aches and pains with ibuprofen, but it may cause serious organ damage when mixed with other medications, new research suggests
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Ibuprofen is one of the most common over-the-counter pain relief options in the UK and is used to treat common ailments from headaches to menstrual cramps and dental pain.
Brits take millions of these tablets every year with no major side effects, but scientists are now warning it should not be mixed with common blood pressure medication after a study revealed that it could cause damage to your kidneys.
People living with high blood pressure are frequently prescribed diuretic water-loss tablets and renin-angiotensin system (RSA) inhibitors, but combining them with ibuprofen could be a “triple whammy” of acute kidney damage.
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Researchers at the University of Waterloo used a computer-simulated drug trial to model the interaction of ibuprofen with these common treatments for hypertension and determine their impact on the kidneys.
The “triple whammy” of combining water-loss tablets with an RSA inhibitor like Advil, as well as ibuprofen, reduces your kidney’s ability to process these drugs and can cause major damage.
The study’s scientists advise people being treated for high blood pressure to talk to their doctor about choosing a different form of painkiller.
Many people are unaware of these potentially adverse effects from taking the painkiller. More widely, ibuprofen should also not be used by people with asthma, Crohn’s disease, stomach ulcers, arterial disease, heart disease, or a history of strokes.
“It’s not that everyone who happens to take this combination of drugs is going to have problems,” said Professor Anita Layton, one of the study’s authors.
“But the research shows it’s enough of a problem that you should exercise caution.”
“Diuretics are a family of drugs that make the body hold less water,” Layton said. “Being dehydrated is a major factor in acute kidney injury, and then the RAS inhibitor and ibuprofen hit the kidney with this triple whammy.
“If you happen to be on these hypertension drugs and need a painkiller, consider acetaminophen instead.”