What Happens If You Take Ibuprofen on an Empty Stomach

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on November 7th, 2022

One of the most popular over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for treating pain, fever, and inflammation is ibuprofen. It has existed for about 50 years.

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), ibuprofen, acts by inhibiting the activity of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. Prostaglandins are produced as a result of COX activation.

Close-up view of a hand holding two white pills in the palm above a blurry background

What happens if you take ibuprofen on an empty stomach?

Whether one can ingest ibuprofen on an empty stomach has no clear-cut resolution. The answer will differ between individuals and be influenced by several variables.

While some people have severe negative effects from taking any drug on an empty stomach, others have none. It is advised to avoid taking medicine on an empty stomach if you have previously experienced negative effects from doing so.

The risk of severe gastrointestinal (GI) adverse effects with ibuprofen is minimal. Risks exist, however, based on a person’s age, duration of usage, dose, and any pre-existing medical issues.

Ibuprofen can have GI adverse effects and alter prostaglandin levels. Stomach protection is one of the prostaglandin’s functions. It lowers stomach acid while boosting mucus production.

Less prostaglandin is formed when ibuprofen is administered in high dosages or for an extended period. Problems can result from this since it might irritate the stomach walls and raise stomach acid.

What is ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a drug mostly used to treat pain and lower fever. It belongs to a group of pharmaceuticals known as NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Aspirin and naproxen are two more popular drugs in this family.

Common side effects of Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is used so frequently that it’s simple to overlook that it could have negative side effects. Ibuprofen is a medicine, and like other drugs, it carries hazards.

Ibuprofen’s most typical side effects include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Gas
  • Constipation

These adverse effects don’t affect everyone. When they do happen, the impacts are often not severe.

What is the best way to take ibuprofen?

Tablets are the most popular form of ibuprofen for sale. The tablets should not be chewed or mashed; they should be eaten whole. Follow the directions on the label if you’re taking your medication in a form other than a tablet.

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs should be taken with milk, food, or an antacid to lessen the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.

It would be best to discuss the disadvantages and advantages of using ibuprofen with your healthcare professional. It should be noted that because it might injure the fetus and cause difficulties, it is not advised for pregnant women 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancy.

Alternative painkillers

There are various over-the-counter pain relievers you can try if ibuprofen does not work, including:

  • Aspirin
  • Co Codamol (paracetamol plus low dose codeine)
  • Paracetamol

If over-the-counter medicines don’t relieve your symptoms, speak to your doctor about stronger painkillers or alternative treatments like physical therapy or exercise.

Ibuprofen often does not effectively treat some forms of pain, such as nerve pain. If a problem with your nerves causes your pain, your doctor might have to recommend a different medication.

Drug interactions

Drug interactions might alter how your drugs function or raise the possibility of major negative side effects.

ACE inhibitors (including Lisinopril and captopril), lithium, angiotensin II receptor blockers (like losartan and valsartan), cidofovir, aliskiren, corticosteroids (like prednisone), and “water pills”(diuretics like furosemide) are a few products that may interact with this medication.

Carefully read the labels on all prescription and over-the-counter medications.


Ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug(NSAID), is used to treat inflammation, fever, and pain. It is one of the drugs that are most commonly used worldwide.

Taking ibuprofen on an empty stomach could be okay for quick pain relief. However, you ought to take it after eating. A magnesium-containing antacid or drinking milk may provide some protection.

It is beneficial to take a protectant to prevent adverse effects on the Gastrointestinal system with long-term use. Your doctor may occasionally decide to prescribe an alternative drug choice.


Editorial Staff

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