Ibuprofen: The Magical Cure

Table of Contents


Ibuprofen was discovered in the 1960s. The drug came out of a propionic acid test carried out during a research by Dr. Stewart Adams and his team. The discovery of the drug was triggered by the team’s desire to come up with a drug that had fewer side effects for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It was after the team discovered that patients using aspirin complained of skin inflammation. Numerous drugs were evaluated for their possible therapeutic activity leading to establishment of an experimental test on a novel compound termed as BTS8402. The compound was later found not to be effective. Afterwards, Dr. Adams and his team came up with a cluster of compounds referred to as phenylalkanoic acid. The compound contained palliatives; antipyretic and had anti-inflammatory qualities (Flower pp. 179-191).

The discovery ushered in the first trial for ibuprofen in 1966. Despite ibuprofen not being the most biologically active of all the compounds discovered, it was found to be the most appropriate drug as it had least adverse effects. The trials showed that ibuprofen alleviated joints inflammation. By 1969, United Kingdom was already using the drug for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, United States adopted the drug in 1974. Currently, the drug is easily found over the counter (International Ibuprofen Foundation para. 1-5). This implies that anyone can have access to the drug on visiting a chemists or any drugstore. As the drug is easily gotten, there are high chances of people abusing it leading to severe health problems (International Ibuprofen Foundation para. 3).

Industrially, the drug is produced as a racemate. Akin to other 2-arylpropionic imitations, it has a stereocenter in the α-position. There are two feasible enantiomers for the drug with each having distinctive metabolism and biological effects.

Application of ibuprofen

Generally, ibuprofen is used for treatment of dysmenorrhea, fever, pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are known to slow down the action of some hormones that lead to pain and inflammation in the body. The hormones are known as prostaglandins. Ibuprofen; being one of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibits the action of prostaglandins and is therefore used in alleviating pain and fever. Apart from alleviating pain caused by inflammation the drug is also used in alleviating general pain such as headache, foot pain, knee pain and others. It is vital to mention that despite ibuprofen being used in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis, the drug dose not absolutely cure the disease neither does it alter its progression. In some instances, ibuprofen has been used alone or in combination with other drugs in treatment of common cold.

Apart from treating arthritis and other joint inflammations, doctors have at times prescribed ibuprofen to patients in treatment of symptoms such as persistent fatigue, gout and fibromyalgia (Kjonaas, Williams, Counce and Crawley p. 824). The anti-inflammatory aspect of ibuprofen has led to doctors using it for treatment of skin diseases such as acne. In Japan, the drug is used for treatment of adult acne. Other area where the drug has proofed to be of great help is in treating orthostatic hypotension.

Despite the numerous benefits associated wit Ibuprofen use, there are varied side effects that may result due to its regular use. Some of the side effects include loss of hearing, vomiting, and constipation, heart attack, erectile dysfunction and others. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (p. 15), combining ibuprofen with alcohol may lead to stomach bleeding. At times it is hard for these side effects to present themselves clearly making it hard for one to know that he or she has exceeded the recommended dose. The severity of the side effects depends on the amount of dose taken as well as the period elapsed.

Future use of ibuprofen

According to Robertson (para. 1-3), studies are underway to establish whether ibuprofen will be the future cure for Parkinson’s disease. A research conducted by doctors in Harvard School of Public Health proved that there were chances of combating the onset of the disease by administering ibuprofen. Into the bargain, some derivatives of the same have been found to facilitate in countering the emergence of the disease by up to 40% (Robertson para. 3). Robertson however warns against the use of ibuprofen in treating Parkinson’s disease as its regular use is accompanied by numerous side effects. Nevertheless, doctors have asserted that this is a great breakthrough towards the development of a cure for Parkinson’s disease (Marcus p. 2). Currently, doctors are using the drug to determine how the disease occurs thus come up with cure for it or even a drug that will prevent its occurrence.

There are suggestions that pain killers counter the growth or rather slow down tumour growth. Ibuprofen is one of the pain killers that have been found to cut down on the rate of tumour growth when it comes into contact with cancer cells. According to a laboratory study conducted by Dr Mathew Lloyd (Daily Mail Reporter para. 3-6), he posited that high doses of ibuprofen were found to cut down on the rate of growth of prostate cancer. By learning more about how the drug interacts with prostate cancer cells doctors will be in a better position of coming up with a future cure for prostate cancer.


Numerous cases of overdose ingestion of ibuprofen have been reported. This is due to the fact that the drug is easily accessible over the counter. As some of its side effects may be hard to detect and may take a long period before they are noticed, caution need to be taken when administering the drug (Kjonaas, Williams, Counce and Crawley pp. 825-828). Currently, research is underway to come up with cure for Parkinson’s disease. Since ibuprofen is in the centre of the research, people suffering from Parkinson’s may take a desperate move of using the drug to treat them. It should be noted that the drug has not been qualified to treat the disease and doctors are carrying out their research to understand the correlation between the drug and the disease. Consequently, people are advised to use other preventative measures which include eating fruits and exercises to curb the onset of Parkinson’s.

Even if high doses of ibuprofen have been found to facilitate in reducing multiplication of cells responsible for prostate cancer, it has to be remembered that the dose is responsible for numerous side effects which may be adversarial to the patient (Wa and Tung para. 2). Before embarking on future use of ibuprofen to treat prostate cancer doctors ought to first understand how the drug works. This will facilitate in coming up with a drug that will effectively treat the disease as well as have limited side effects on the patients.

Works Cited

Daily Mail Reporter. “Ibuprofen ‘could be used to treat prostate cancer’” 2011. Web.

Flower, Rod. “The Development of Cox 2 Inhibitors.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2.3 (2003):179–191.

International Ibuprofen Foundation. “The History of Ibuprofen.” 2009. Web.

Kjonaas, Richard A., Williams, Peggy E., Counce, David A. and Crawley, Lindsey R. “Synthesis of Ibuprofen in the Introductory Organic Laboratory”. Journal of Chemical Education 88.6 (2011): 825–828.

Marcus, Mary Brophy. “Ibuprofen may reduce risk of getting Parkinson’s disease”. USA Today. 2011.

Robertson, Kathryn. “Ibuprofen study offers future hope for Parkinson’s suffers.” Health and beauty. 2011. Web.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”Drug Approval Package: Caldolor (Ibuprofen) NDA #022348″. 2010.
Wa Chan Tsz and Tung Li Wing. “Drug development Ibuprofen.” 2008. Web.

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