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The Effects of Ibuprofen on the Liver & Kidneys

By Noreen Kassem ; Updated August 14, 2017

The liver and the kidneys clear toxins and chemicals from the body. However, some medications can affect the function of these organs. The Hospice website notes that nonprescription analgesic drugs such as ibuprofen can cause or worsen problems in the liver and kidneys. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, that is used to relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation.

Liver Effects

Up to 15 percent of patients taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen may experience mild elevations in liver, or hepatic, tests, warns RxList. These lab test abnormalities may be temporary or worsen with continued use of these painkillers. RxList also notes that in rare cases, severe hepatic effects such as jaundice, liver necrosis, or cell death, and even liver failure may occur.

Kidney Effects

Rxlist lists several kidney, or renal, effects due to the long-term use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. These include renal papillary necrosis, or cell death, renal toxicity and other renal injuries. Renal toxicity has also been seen in some patients.

Creatinine Levels

Decreased kidney function due to ibuprofen is more likely in patients who have existing kidney problems, and RxList warns that long-term use of ibuprofen can cause adverse effects such as decreased clearance of creatinine by the kidney. Creatinine is a chemical waste compound that is produced during normal skeletal muscle contractions, and is normally filtered through the kidneys and excreted in the urine.

Hepatitis C

According to Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases, or PKIDS, individuals with hepatitis C liver infections have a risk of decreased liver function due to ibuprofen. Regular consumption or taking large doses of this painkiller may cause increased stress on the liver, raising the level of hepatic enzymes. It is recommended that patients with chronic hepatitis C undergo liver functions test at regular 3-month intervals.

Drug Interaction

According to RxList, ibuprofen may negatively interact with the normal elimination of other medications, increasing their toxicity in the body. An example of this is the psoriasis medication methotrexate, which may be inhibited from kidney filtration if taken with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. The increased levels of drug toxins in the blood can then accumulate in the liver.

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