What are the Side Effects of Nurofen?

Sep 28, 2010 | By Rae Uddin

Nurofen is an over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient ibuprofen, a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID. Typically, this medication is used to alleviate pain or fever symptoms in affected people. Nurofen is marketed under the brand name Motrin in the United States. People should be aware of the potential side effects of Nurofen before using this pain relieving medication.

Upset Stomach

Treatment with Nurofen may induce upset stomach side effects in certain people. Stomach-related side effects may include nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion or vomiting, NetDoctor reports. Though Nurofen can be taken on an empty stomach, eating a small snack or meal prior to dosing can help limit the severity or development of stomach upset side effects in certain patients.

Bowel Movement Changes

Uncomfortable bowel movement changes may arise following treatment with Nurofen. Affected people may experience difficulty producing a bowel movement, also called constipation, or may alternatively develop urgent, frequent bowel movements, also called diarrhea, Drugs.com warns. These bowel movement changes may be accompanied by abdominal cramping, bloating or a diminished appetite. If people notice blood in their stools while receiving treatment with this medication, they should contact a doctor. Bloody stools may be a sign of intestinal damage or bleeding.

Headache or Dizziness

Nurofen use may cause head pain or dizziness in treated people. Dizziness or lightheadedness, especially upon sitting up or standing, may lead to injury from tripping or falling down. Head pain may also be disruptive and can affect a person's ability to focus or concentrate while at work or school. People who experience severe dizziness or headache pain after taking Nurofen should seek medical care immediately, Drugs.com advises.

Allergic Reaction

This medication may cause severe allergic reaction side effects in people who are hypersensitive to certain types of medication, such as aspirin or NSAIDs. Allergic reaction symptoms include swelling of the face or throat, severe skin rash and breathing difficulties, NetDoctor reports. People who develop any of these potentially life-threatening side effects after taking a dose of Nurofen should be transported to an emergency medical care provider immediately.

Nurofen Side Effects

Nurofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, used to relieve mild to moderate pain, inflammation and fever. A brand name for ibuprofen, Nurofen is available in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. Most people who use it do not experience any side effects.


  • Nurofen blocks the action of the chemical cyclooxygenase (COX) in the body. This chemical is involved in producing prostaglandins, which cause pain, swelling, inflammation and fever in response to injury and disease.

Gastrointestinal Effects

  • The most common Nurofen side effects are gastrointestinal, including upset stomach, stomach pain and nausea. Rarely, Nurofen leads to stomach or intestinal ulcers or bleeding.

Other Serious Effects

  • Blistering or peeling skin rashes that can become life-threatening are a are Nurofen side effect. Additionally, continuous use of Nurofen is linked to a small increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke, and this risk becomes greater the longer Nurofen is used. A study conducted by Oxford University and published in the British Medical Journal in 2006 found that three people in every 1,000 ibuprofen users experience an adverse cardiovascular event.

Drug Interactions

  • Patients taking certain other medications may not be able to safely take Nurofen, as it can increase or decrease the effects of these anticoagulants, anti-platelet medicines, corticosteroids, lithium, diuretics and some medications to treat depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.


  • Mild gastrointestinal effects can be avoided by taking Nurofen with food or milk. More serious side effects can be avoided by taking as low a dose as appropriate for as short a time as possible. Elderly people are more susceptible to serious Nurofen side effects.