Is Ibuprofen A Blood Thinner? – Ibuprofen Side Effects

is ibuprofen a blood thinnerDoes ibuprofen thin blood?

Many are genuinely concerned about the blood thinning effects of this popular painkiller drug.

Blood thinners decrease the chances of blood getting clotted.

There are several prescription medicines available for the blood thinning. If you have an abnormal heart rhythm, your doctor might prescribe one such blood thinning medications for you.

However, some of the popularly used medicines, especially the painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, can have blood thinning result as a side effect.

Interaction of different medications also could make your blood thin or slow down blood clotting.

What Are Blood Thinners?

Blood thinners are anticoagulant substances that slow down the normal blood clotting time taken by the body (1,2).

There are prescription medications which are taken orally or by injection to prevent the clotting of blood.

Doctors may recommend blood thinners for patients who suffer from some kinds of heart or blood vessel disease and for those who have poor blood flow to the brain. Blood thinners are useful in preventing heart attack or stroke by removing blood clots in the arteries and veins (3).

But for persons with a healthy cardiovascular system, the blood thinners can put them in danger of bleeding.

There are two types of blood thinners – antiplatelet that prevent the platelets from developing into a clot and anticoagulants which slow down the actual formation of a blood clot (4,5,6).

What Is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication. It is a common over-the-counter drug used for pain relief.

Ibuprofen has the most favorable GI safety profile of all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to reduce the hormones that cause inflammation in the body (7).

Ibuprofen is a pain reliever that works well for pain management including toothaches, joint pain, menstrual cramps, and backaches.

According to Mayo Clinic report, it helps to relieve symptoms of arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or juvenile arthritis), such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain.

This anti-inflammatory drug comes under different brand names like Brufen, Advil, Midol, Motrin, Nurofen, Genpril, Addaprin, Haltran, Nuprin, Proprinal, Q-Profen.

It is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Suspension
  • Tablet
  • Capsule, Liquid Filled
  • Tablet, Chewable
  • Capsule

Is Ibuprofen A Blood Thinner? 

Many of the anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs have blood thinning effect in varying degrees.

Is Ibuprofen a blood thinner?

Yes, Ibuprofen is considered as a blood thinner.  

However, it is NOT a blood thinner like heparin or warfarin which works as anticoagulants.

Ibuprofen or Advil slows down your blood clotting rate to some extent. It may increase the bleeding time without altering the viscosity of the blood.

When you are on Advil medication if you get cut on your skin, it may take longer for you to form a blood clot.

According to FDA report, patients receiving Ibuprofen tablets may be adversely affected by alterations in platelet function. While having this medication, patients with coagulation disorders or receiving anticoagulants should be carefully monitored (8,9).

Some of the drug reviews suggest that Advil or Ibuprofen produces blood thinning effect by interfering with the functions of platelets and interrupting blood clots (10,11).

Ibuprofen may cause similar effects like any of the blood thinners that doctors prescribe.

Blood Thinner Medications

Is Advil a blood thinner?

Yes, all Ibuprofen brands like Advil, Brufen, Midol, Motrin, and Nurofen are blood thinners to some extent. They increase the bleeding by decreasing the potency of platelets in blood clotting.

It is worth knowing about the blood thinner medication.

Two types of anticoagulant medications are:

1. Antiplatelet Drugs

Antiplatelet drugs prevent the clumping of platelets and thus decrease the blood clotting power of the platelets.

Commonly used antiplatelet medicines are (12):

  • Aspirin
  • Plavix
  • Effient
  • Dipyridamole (Persantie)
  • Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Ticlopidine (Ticlid)
  • Thienopyridines and other ADP receptor blockers

2. Anticoagulants

Anticoagulant medication is specifically meant for blood thinning and preventing the blood clotting for several hours. They open up the blood vessels and increase the flow of blood.

Commonly used/prescribed anticoagulant medications are (13,14):

  • Warfarin (like Jantoven and Coumadin)
  • Apixaban (Eliquis)
  • Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
  • Enosaparin (like Lovenox)
  • Heparin
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

Natural Blood Thinners

Anticoagulant medications may produce some side effects on health in the long run.

If you have cardiovascular diseases resulting from blood clotting or closed blood vessels, some of the natural remedies are worth trying.

Exercise Regularly: Try to do minimum 3o minutes of vigorous exercise daily. Exercises help to lower the Vitamin K levels in blood and makes the blood thinner (15).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Consuming foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids helps to balance cholesterol levels in blood and removes unwanted blood clotting. Fish, walnuts, seaweeds, pumpkin seeds and canola oil are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (16).

Vitamin E: Eat foods rich in Vitamin E like red bell pepper, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, and almond. Vitamin E is a fantastic antioxidant that reduces inflammation and blood clotting in the blood vessels (17).

Natural Antibiotics: Antibiotics have blood thinning effect when they are regularly consumed for a month or more. Some of the common foods like garlic, onions, garlic, olive oil, and jicama contain natural antibiotics that work as blood thinners.

Drink Water: Keep your body well hydrated by drinking enough water every day; this help to open up the blood vessels and make the blood thinner.

Sun Bathe: Vitamin D acquired from the sunshine can increase blood circulation and make the blood thinner. Expose yourself to morning sun for a couple of minutes to prevent Vitamin D deficiency in your body.

Salicylates: Eating foods such as strawberries, cayenne pepper, honey, cinnamon, oranges, prunes, vinegar and wine can supply your body with Salicylates chemical.  It helps suppress the blood clotting power of Vitamin K and make the blood thinner. Aspirin is one of the most commonly used salicylates (18).

Side Effects of Blood Thinners

Regular consumption of blood thinners can cause dangerous side effects in most patients.

Excess bleeding is one of the major consequences of blood thinners and NSAIDs.

Somme of the commonly found side effects of blood thinners are:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Blood tinged urine and stool
  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive bleeding during periods
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nosebleeds.

Is It Alright To Take Ibuprofen While Taking Blood Thinners?

You should not take ibuprofen and other blood thinner medications simultaneously.

Nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may impair the function of platelet which is essential for blood clotting.

Medications like Warfarin, Enoxaparin and others used as blood thinners impair blood clotting in a different way, by impacting the INR level.

There is no direct overlap between NSAIDs and specific anticoagulant medications. However, by taking these two medicines at the same time, you are impairing the body’s ability to do blood clotting in two separate ways.  

Taking NSAIDs and other anti-coagulant medication increases the chance of bleeding profusely to the extent of fatal consequences.

Never take pain killers and blood thinners simultaneously without the recommendation of your physician.

Is It Safe For You To Use Ibuprofen?

Yes, it is safe to consume Advil or ibuprofen for a short period.

However, daily consumption of this pain killers and NSAIDs are not recommended.

You should diligently follow the advice of your physician for using any of the anti-inflammatory medicines.

Never take an overdose of NSAIDs beyond the daily dosage recommended by your doctor.

Advil, Midol, Motrin, and Nurofen are excellent for curing moderate pain. They do not pose any serious health risks.

However, patients already under prolonged medications should not consume NSAIDs without consulting your doctor.

You need to stop taking NSAIDs immediately and refer to a doctor if you notice symptoms such as:

Who Should Not Take Ibuprofen or Advil?

Ibuprofen may thin blood and increase bleeding time depending on the health conditions of the patient.

Advil should not be taken daily for an extended period as it will definitely harm you.

Ibuprofen is not meant for patients with following health conditions and medication history:

  • Already taking aspirin or anticoagulant drugs;
  • Have any liver diseases;
  • Suffering from stomach ulcer;
  • Allergenic to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Under medication for cardiovascular diseases.

Recommended Ibuprofen Dosage Per Day

How much ibuprofen can I take?

Ibuprofen per dose should not exceed 800 milligrams; 400mg per dose is best.

The physician recommends the dosage depending on the severity of the inflammatory condition. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis may require higher doses than those with osteoarthritis.

A healthy adult may consume up to 3200 milligrams per day; 800 mg dose pills taken four times a day.  

Ideally, daily intake of ibuprofen can range from 1200 to 3200 mg orally per day, divided into equal doses.

This medicine should not be consumed by babies, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers.

An overdose of Advil haves severe side effects such as:

  • upset stomach, mild heartburn, nausea, vomiting;
  • dizziness, headache, nervousness;
  • bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation;
  • continuous bleeding;
  • mild itching or rash;
  • ringing in your ears.

The Bottom Line

Is ibuprofen a blood thinner?

Yes, it makes the blood thin, but it is not an anticoagulant medication like the warfarin or others which block the coagulation proteins in the blood.

Advil does not prevent venous thrombosis. It is an anti-aggregation drug that produces a significant impact on increased bleeding by slowing down blood clotting.

Ibuprofen is a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug that works by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. This particular enzyme creates some of the mediators that cause pain and inflammation.

Ibuprofen also inhibits a similar enzyme that supports the platelets in aggregating and clotting the blood.

Taking high dosage of ibuprofen may increase the risk of risk of arterial thrombosis which leads to the prevention of blood clotting.

Most pain killers in Advil category have identical effects. Aspirin also has blood thinning effect that lasts for several days. But paracetamol (acetaminophen in the US) does not impair the functions of platelets.

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