Tuesday March 31st 2015

Can you get high on ibuprofen?

Can you get high on ibuprofen?

No, ibuprofen cannot get you high. Instead, ibuprofen is available over the counter and is generally used for minor body pain. We review the pharmacology of ibuprofen here. Plus, we list prescription drugs which can cause euphoric effect are commonly combined with ibuprofen. Please send us your questions in the comment form below!

Ibuprofen for pain relief

Ibuprofen is used as a mild to moderate pain reliever. In over-the-counter versions, ibuprofen can help treat minor pain caused by common complaints such as headaches, muscle aches, menstrual periods, the common cold, toothaches, and backaches. In prescription versions, ibuprofen is prescribed to treat osteoathrtitis, rheumatoid arthritis and certain soft tissue disorders associated with pain and inflammation.

How does ibuprofen work?

Ibuprofen works by stopping the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation. Specifically, ibuprofen acts by blocking the synthesis of prostaglandin. Inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis accounts for pain relief and reduced fever. Other mechanisms are thought to contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects of ibuprofen.

Is ibuprofen like prescription pain killers?

No, ibuprofen is not like other prescription pill pain killers.  Instead, ibuprofen is a non-narcotic pain reliever and does not cause ibuprofen addiction. Other prescription drugs contain narcotic agents like opioids and work by blocking your perception of pain in the body. And unlike stronger pain medications such as Tramadol, Vicodin, or OxyContin, ibuprofen DOES NOT bind to opioid receptors in the body. Therefore, ibuprofen DOES NOT bring on an extreme sense of well-being (euphoria) nor is ibuprofen addictive.

Getting high on ibuprofen

Although you cannot get high on ibuprofen, it is possible that combination medicines which contain ibuprofen can cause euphoria or stimulation. The most common medications which cause these effects contain either opioid drugs, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, or pseudoephedrine. Some of the more popular brand names drugs which may produce euphoric effect, when taken for non medical reasons include:

Advil Allergy Sinus                       I + pseudoephedrine

Advil Cold and Sinus                     I + pseudoephedrine

Advil PM                                        I + diphenhydramine

Children’s Advil Allergy Sinus            I + pseudoephedrine

Children’s Advil Cold                       I + pseudoephedrine

Children’s Motrin Cold                     I + hydrocodone

Combunox                                    I + oxycodone

DayQuil Pressure and Pain         I + pseudoephedrine

Dimetapp Sinus                       I + pseudoephedrine

Generic Rx                            I + diphenhydramine

Generic Rx                             I + hydrocodone

Generic Rx                             I + oxycodone

Generic Rx                             I + pseudoephedrine

Ibudone                                       I + hydrocodone

Ibuprohm cold and sinus              I + pseudoephedrine

Motrin PM                                   I + diphenhydramine

Vicoprofen                                   I + hydrocodone

Reprexain                                      I + hydrocodone

Sine-Aid IB                                    I + pseudoephedrine

Can I get addicted to ibuprofen?

No, people who take ibuprofen chronically over time do not develop tolerance for ibuprofen or experience withdrawal when they stop taking the drug. Additionally, because you cannot get high on ibuprofen, you cannot become addicted to ibuprofen. However, long term use of ibuprofen can cause serious medical conditions such as internal bleeding, ulcers, or holes in the digestive system. And ibuprofen should be avoided if you are taking other specific medicines. Ask your doctor about possible drug interactions before you start taking ibuprofen regularly, and always seek help if you have heartburn, bloody stools or are vomiting dark red or black blood.

Questions about ibuprofen use?

Please forward us your questions. If we cannot answer them personally, we can help you find an answer!

Reference sources: Drug info on ibuprofen from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
FDA approved drug products containing ibuprofen

Photo credit: xJasonRogersX

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8 Responses to “Can you get high on ibuprofen?
6:09 pm July 21st, 2012

My daughter became addicted to Tramadol and combined it with Advil PM. She suffered two seizures as a result and almost lost her life. She went through a terrible withdrawl and, hopefully, has not used in the last month. However, I am finding large quantities of empty Children’s Ibuprofen and Pseudoephedrine Sulfate. Is this a sign that she has replaced on addiction for another?

4:14 pm July 23rd, 2012

Hello Joyce. While there is no information to indicate that abuse or dependency occurs with Ibuprofen and Pseudoephedrine Sulfate alone, Pseudoephedrine is one ingredient used for making methamphetamine in clandestine home laboratories. I’d suggest that you seek professional addiction help for the whole family, as it seems that you still don’t trust your daughter (a good idea, BTW, to be cautious) and you need to address the possibility of crystal meth use.

3:20 am July 25th, 2012

Thank you for your help. She is to start counseling this week.

6:35 pm July 27th, 2012

You are welcome. Also, get some help and support for yourself! Have you heard about Al-Anon? Can you also see a counselor to help you deal with the many emotions and thoughts that come with having someone close to you, someone that you love, go through addiction recovery?

2:19 pm September 14th, 2012

Joyce, your daughter went through withdrawal from the tramadol, not the over the counter meds they provide no withdrawal at all. And I may have read it wrong, but this article said something about diphenhydramine hcl being an opiod which is laughably wrong. Diphenhydramine is Benadryl , not even close to an opiod.

1:53 pm September 16th, 2012

Hi Tom – Thanks for your comment. Yes, you did read the article wrong. The article reads that opioids, diphenhydramine, or pseudoephedrine can be the cause of euphoric effect when combined with ibuprofen. The relation here is their ability to create euphoria in some people, and the fact that they are sometimes combined with ibuprofen. Not that opioids = diphenhydramine hydrochloride.

kaytee rath
12:58 pm October 30th, 2012

You are mistaken.Ibuprofen is definitely addicting.Certainly not opoid.Many doctors will tell you”you have an addiction to ibuprofen.”
if you have lots of headaches and “ONLY ADVIL gets rid of it.” or “only generic ibuprofen and not Advil gets rid of it”
The ibuprofen you take too much of -is causing headaches when you don’t take it.(or some added chemical ingredient is)

3:41 am August 10th, 2014

Kaytee i honestly can’t believe your claiming ibuprofen to be addicting. I thought it was hard to convince people physiological addiction to diphenhydramine.

That is simply not true. And “only advil gets rid of it” that does not sound right to me. There are many many drugs that can help you with headaches. The only dangers are overdose thats all

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