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As both Ibuprofen and Prednisone are used to treat painful conditions, there are times when both of these medicines are prescribed together. In such circumstances, it is natural for the patient to wonder whether it is safe to take both these medicines together. What are the actions and side effects of both Ibuprofen and Prednisone?

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that acts by reducing inflammation and pain. It is used to reduce fever and to treat painful conditions like toothache, menstrual cramps, backache, small wounds, and many other things. It is also used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Although Ibuprofen is a commonly used medicine, it comes with its own set of side effects. Long-term use of Ibuprofen is known to increased the risk of a sudden heart attack or stroke. The drug is contraindicated before or immediately after heart bypass surgery, as it can cause life-threatening circulation problems.

Combining Ibuprofen with antidepressants like citalopram, fluoxetine or paroxetine can lead to easy bruises. Therefore it is important to take your doctor's advice before taking several medicines together. Similarly, Ibuprofen should not be taken without consulting the doctor if the person is on diuretics, blood pressure medicines or blood thinners.

Like other NSAIDs, Ibuprofen can also damage the mucus membranes lining the stomach and the intestines leading to ulceration and gastrointestinal bleeding. Ever since it was converted from a prescription drug to an over-the-counter medicine 30 years ago, numerous studies have been carried out to check its gastrointestinal safety profile. It has been found that compared to other NSAIDs, Ibuprofen carries a low risk of adverse gastrointestinal events when used for a short duration of less than 10 days. However, when used on a chronic basis, even at prescription doses, Ibuprofen can significantly increase the risk of experiencing gastrointestinal side effects.

The risk of gastrointestinal side effects increases significantly when Ibuprofen is used along with Prednisone or other steroids for a long duration.

Prednisone

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid, a glucocorticoid used in the treatment of allergies and auto-immune conditions. It is an immune-suppressant medication which also exerts some anti-inflammatory action. The most common conditions where Prednisone is used include ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, arthritis, asthma and other allergic conditions, and skin disorders.

Common side effects of Prednisone include nausea, fluid retention, stomach upset, mood swings, insomnia, and delayed wound healing.

Long-term Prednisone use can cause shortness of breath, severe epigastric pain, bloody or tarry stools, vision disturbances, and depression. Its chronic use can lead to bone loss (osteoporosis) and stunted growth. When taken during pregnancy, Prednisone can cause birth defects or growth retardation. It is also emitted through breast milk and should therefore be used cautiously by a lactating woman.

Prednisone is known to interact with many medicines like anticoagulants, diuretics, antihypertensive medicines, vaccines and NSAIDs.

Combining Prednisone with NSAIDs increases the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.

However, among all NSAIDs, Ibuprofen has the best gastrointestinal safety profile. It can be safely used along with Prednisone for a short duration, but only if your doctor advises so.

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