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Ibuprofen: Main Image

Interactions with Vitamins


Supplementation may enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs while reducing their ulcerogenic effects. One study found that when various anti-inflammatory drugs were chelated with copper, the anti-inflammatory activity was increased. Animal models of inflammation have found that the copper chelate of aspirin was active at one-eighth the effective amount of aspirin. These copper complexes are less toxic than the parent compounds as well.


NSAIDs cause gastrointestinal (GI) irritation, bleeding, and iron loss. Iron supplements can cause GI irritation. However, iron supplementation is sometimes needed in people taking NSAIDs if those drugs have caused enough blood loss to lead to iron deficiency. If both iron and ibuprofen are prescribed, they should be taken with food to reduce GI irritation and bleeding risk.


Lithium is a mineral that may be present in some supplements and is also used in large amounts to treat mood disorders such as manic-depression (bipolar disorder). Most NSAIDs inhibit the excretion of lithium from the body, resulting in higher blood levels of the mineral, though sulindac may have an opposite effect. Since major changes in lithium blood levels can produce unwanted side effects or interfere with its efficacy, NSAIDs should be used with caution, and only under medical supervision, in people taking lithium supplements.


Ibuprofen has caused kidney dysfunction and increased blood potassium levels, especially in older people. People taking ibuprofen should not supplement potassium without consulting with their doctor.

Interactions with Herbs

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

The flavonoids found in the extract of licorice known as DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) are helpful for avoiding the irritating actions NSAIDs have on the stomach and intestines. One study found that 350 mg of chewable DGL taken together with each dose of aspirin reduced gastrointestinal bleeding caused by the aspirin. DGL has been shown in controlled human research to be as effective as drug therapy (cimetidine) in healing stomach ulcers.

White willow bark (Salix alba)

White willow bark contains salicin, which is related to aspirin. Both salicin and aspirin produce anti-inflammatory effects after they have been converted to salicylic acid in the body. The administration of salicylates like aspirin to individuals taking oral NSAIDs may result in reduced blood levels of NSAIDs. Though no studies have investigated interactions between white willow bark and NSAIDs, people taking NSAIDs should avoid the herb until more information is available.

Interactions with Foods & Other Compounds


Ibuprofen should be taken with food to prevent gastrointestinal upset.

Ibuprofen may cause sodium and water retention. It is healthful to reduce dietary salt intake by eliminating table salt and heavily salted foods.


Ibuprofen may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision. Alcohol may intensify these effects and increase the risk of accidental injury. Use of alcohol during ibuprofen therapy increases the risk of stomach irritation and bleeding. People taking ibuprofen should avoid alcohol.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7.

Please read the disclaimer about the limitations of the information provided here. Do NOT rely solely on the information in this article. The Aisle7 knowledgebase does not contain every possible interaction.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2013.

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