Ibuprofen is classified as one of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
It is used to:
- Ease mild to moderate pain, such as toothache, migraines and period pain.
- Reduce the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and other conditions
- Reduce high temperatures
- Ease the pain and swelling caused by sprains and strains.
It was initially sold under the brand name Brufen and manufactured by Boots. Since the patent has expired a number of generic varieties are made by various manufacturers.
Ibuprofen works by inhibiting the synthesis of a group of compounds called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are sometimes referred to as local hormones as they are active where they are produced as opposed to all over the body. They serve a wide variety of functions in the body but do cause pain and inflammation.
When injury occurs in the body is injured, protective measure go to work. White blood cells accumulate where the body is injured, causing swelling, heat, loss of function and pain, in other words, inflammation.
This is the body’s defence mechanism to prevent further damage and heal injury. The swelling will prevent movement of the injured joints or area, the pain is to notify the brain of the problem and the heat and increased blood flow will speed up the healing. That is great as a natural solution but once we are aware of the injury and have taken steps to allow it to heal,
Ibuprofen’s painkiller and antipyretic (fever-reducing) properties are a result of its ability to slow the production of prostaglandins. This is achieved by interfering with the activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase (COX) which speeds up the conversion of arachidonic acid into prostaglandins. Aspirin and other NSAIDs work in the same manner.