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Can I Take Diclofenac and Nurofen: Risks and Guidelines

Can I Take Diclofenac and Nurofen Together: Risks and Alternatives

Have you ever wondered, ‘Can I take diclofenac and Nurofen together?’ The combination of these two commonly used medications raises concerns about potential risks and side effects. This article delves into the dangers of combining diclofenac and Nurofen (which contains ibuprofen) to help you make informed decisions when managing pain and inflammation. Read on to explore the crucial considerations when it comes to using these medications concurrently.

Common NSAIDs Comparison

  • Diclofenac:
    • Drug Class: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
    • Brand and Generic Names: Brand name: Voltaren, available in generic form
    • Conditions Treated: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis
    • Forms: Delayed-release tablets, extended-release tablets, topical gel/solution
    • Standard Dosage: 50 mg, 2-3 times daily
    • Who Uses It: Adults aged 18 and above
    • Prescription Requirement: Prescription drug
  • Ibuprofen (Nurofen):
    • Drug Class: NSAID
    • Brand and Generic Names: Over-the-counter (OTC), brand names: Advil, Motrin
    • Conditions Treated: Mild pain, fever, arthritis pain
    • Forms: Oral tablets, capsules, suspension
    • Standard Dosage: OTC: 400-800 mg every 6-8 hours
    • Who Uses It: Adults and children (6 months and older)
    • Prescription Requirement: Prescription for severe pain

Contraindications, drug/medication interactions, and food/beverage/supplement interactions for the medications Diclofenac sodium and Voltaren.

IMG Source: reactbricks.com


Risks of Combining Diclofenac and Ibuprofen

Taking both diclofenac and Nurofen (which contains ibuprofen) together can pose potential risks. Here’s what you should know about the dangers of combining these two medications:

  • Gastrointestinal Effects:
    • Both diclofenac and ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining, increasing the risk of stomach ulcers, bleeding, and inflammation in the GI tract.
    • Combining these drugs may even lead to severe issues like inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, and, in rare cases, perforation in the stomach or intestines.
  • Blood Clotting and Bleeding Risk:
    • NSAIDs like diclofenac and ibuprofen can affect platelet function and interfere with normal blood clotting.
    • Taking them with blood thinners further raises the risk of bleeding.
  • Kidney and Blood Pressure Concerns:
    • Ibuprofen and diclofenac can impact kidney function and may lead to kidney problems.
    • Individuals with high blood pressure need to be cautious as these medications can elevate blood pressure and cause fluid retention (swelling).
  • Allergic Reactions and Pre-existing Conditions:
    • Consider your medical history before combining these drugs:
      • If you’ve had allergic reactions to either diclofenac or ibuprofen, avoid taking them together.
      • Consult your doctor if you’ve experienced side effects from NSAIDs or have a history of stomach issues.
      • If you have pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure, or liver/kidney disease, discuss with your healthcare provider.
      • For pregnancy and breastfeeding concerns, always seek advice from a doctor before using these medications.

A forest plot showing the incidence rate ratio and 95% confidence intervals for the comparison of diclofenac versus other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or paracetamol for the endpoints of atrial fibrillation or flutter, ischaemic stroke, heart failure, myocardial infarction, cardiac death and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE).

IMG Source: bmj.com


Important Information about Diclofenac and Ibuprofen Interaction

  • Diclofenac (also known as Voltaren): A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for pain relief and inflammation control. It’s crucial to follow your doctor’s advice when taking diclofenac.
  • Ibuprofen (found in Nurofen): Another NSAID for pain management and inflammation reduction.
  • Interaction Risk: Combining diclofenac and ibuprofen is generally not recommended due to the increased risk of gastrointestinal side effects like inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, and rarely, perforation.
  • Caution with NSAIDs: Both diclofenac and ibuprofen belong to the same NSAID class, potentially intensifying side effects and gastrointestinal issues when combined. Consult your doctor if you’re considering adding one to your existing medication regimen.

Always consult a healthcare professional before combining any medications for personalized guidance based on your health condition and needs.

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A diagram showing the chemical structure of ibuprofen and diclofenac, and their effects on the cardiovascular system of zebrafish.

IMG Source: els-cdn.com


Pain Management Methods

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Effective in relieving mild to moderate pain without causing stomach irritation or ulcers.
  • Topical Ointments: Numb the skin and provide localized pain relief, ideal for muscle strains and minor injuries.
  • Other NSAIDs: Consider alternatives like Naproxen, Ketoprofen, Sulindac, and Fenoprofen for anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
  • Natural Alternatives: Incorporate Turmeric, Ginger, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Boswellia for natural anti-inflammatory benefits.

Always consult with your healthcare provider to tailor a pain management plan to your specific needs and medical history.

Certain patient factors increase the risk of NSAID-associated GI effects, including age 65 years or older, concomitant therapy with aspirin or other anti-platelet agents, anticoagulants, corticosteroids, or SSRIs, severe illness, H. pylori infection, history of peptic ulcer, alcohol and tobacco use, concomitant use of two or more NSAIDs, and use of more gastrolesive NSAIDs.

IMG Source: springernature.com



In conclusion, while diclofenac and Nurofen (ibuprofen) are effective in managing pain and inflammation individually, combining them can pose significant health risks. The potential for gastrointestinal complications, blood clotting issues, kidney concerns, and interactions with other medications underscores the importance of consulting a healthcare professional before taking both drugs together. Always prioritize your health and safety by seeking personalized medical advice tailored to your specific needs and medical history.

Remember, your well-being is paramount when it comes to managing pain and choosing the right medications for your condition.

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