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Even though Ibuprofen can be purchases without a prescription, it is a compound that someone can become addicted to. It is part of the non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) that patients will often take to treat muscle pain, headaches and joint pain. In moderate doses and as long as patients do not take this medication daily, 60 percent of patients will respond positively to this medication. 

In some cases, however, patients turn to Ibuprofen as a treatment for chronic pain conditions. Lower back pain, chronic muscle pain or tension headaches are some of the reasons why patients require these types of medications. Unfortunately, like with any medication, there is a physiological change every time you take a medication and receptors that once responded to a medication will become saturated with the active ingredients from the drug and they may not respond as effectively. In order to realize the same alleviating relief, patients will naturally decide to self-medicate with higher and higher doses of Ibuprofen to the point of developing a dependency. In chronic cases, patients will actually have a heightened sense of pain if they stop taking the medication so it is important to avoid the problem in the first place. 

In most cases, Ibuprofen is a very mild painkiller and will not  have the same type physical dependence that patients taking stronger medications like morphine or Oxycontin will experience. This will be more of a psychological dependence and patients will be unable to mentally function unless they are able to take this medication. 

Out of all the NSAIDs in circulation, Ibuprofen is one of the safest in terms of side effects. Aspirin was found to have side effects 20 percent of the time compared to 1.5 percent of Ibuprofen users and 1 percent of placebo patients. Like all members of this family, however, patients that take this medication for too long a period will most likely have some type of gastrointestinal ulcers, chronic kidney disease or bleeding disorder. In one investigation, it was determined that 20 percent of NSAID users (even Ibuprofen) will have gastric ulcers. Some studies also suggest that chronic Ibuprofen use could be linked with eventual heart failure. 

Another dangerous complication of Ibuprofen is the prevalence of alcohol consumption in tandem with this medication. Patients increase their risk of hepatotoxicity (liver damage) by nearly 5 times when they drink alcoholic beverages and consume painkillers. 

As with the entire NSAID family, patients will most likely exhibit chronic headaches when they start to develop a dependence on Ibuprofen. These headaches do not have a malignant origin in nature but are termed as "drug-induced rebound headaches" because our body is not used to functioning without high levels of painkillers in our system. The longer the time between doses of medication, the stronger and more prolonged the headaches can last. 

Thankfully, if a patient is able to fight through the chronic headaches, they will eventually disappear. These can be quite intense after the first 2 to 3 days but after a week of stopping oral intake of Ibuprofen, patients will start to feel normal again. It is important to make sure you are not abusing the medication yourself. Patients are recommended to take a maximum of 800mg of Ibuprofen at once and no more than 2400mg of Ibuprofen per day. 


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