It’s common to be given antibiotics as a treatment for infections, which usually come with some pain or discomfort. This can have you reaching for painkillers like ibuprofen before you ask – can I take these together?
This page has what you need to know about ibuprofen and amoxicillin, and how they interact together.
Below you’ll find out what ibuprofen and amoxicillin are and how they interact when inside your body, along with the side effects of each.
As always, you should ask your doctor or the local pharmacist if you’re unsure and want professional guidance.
What is Ibuprofen?
If you’re here, you probably have an idea of what ibuprofen is already. It’s still worth giving a rundown of the medication before you put it into your body.
Ibuprofen is an NSAID – a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. Many of us know ibuprofen because it’s an everyday painkiller that’s given out for a variety of pains.
Whether it’s toothaches, menstrual pain, or recurring pains from conditions like arthritis, ibuprofen is prescribed and delivered in capsules or syrup or even rubbed on the skin. It’s often combined with other medical products but that doesn’t mean it’s compatible with everything.
You can expect it to take a half-hour to work if ingested or up to two days if you’re applying it topically. Don’t take it if you have an empty stomach as this can cause discomfort or nausea.
What is Amoxicillin?
As we said, amoxicillin is an antibiotic that’s prescribed to treat bacterial infections.
These are commonly UTIs or chest infections, pneumonia being a popular example of an infection based in your chest. It’s also great for treating ear infections in young people.
Like many antibiotics, you usually only get your hands on it through a prescription.
Once you do have it, it’ll be in the form of capsules or an ingested liquid. It’s available as an injection too but that’s an unnecessary effort on your part, so it’s mostly done at a medical center when needed.
The infection should start to clear up in a few days, during which your teeth may be stained slightly if you’re drinking amoxicillin liquid, but that’s nothing that brushing won’t fix.
Amoxicillin is one of the antibiotics you can take while drinking alcohol.
Do They Interact?
Assuming you have a just cause to take them both, you shouldn’t have any issues taking ibuprofen with amoxicillin.
Let’s go into more detail about what ibuprofen does and doesn’t interact with. As an NSAID, ibuprofen’s main incompatibility is with aspirin or naproxen.
Combining NSAIDs like these can cause stomach aches and so we’d advise you only to do so if explicitly directed by a medical professional.
Be aware that NSAIDs can be present in cold medication too, so make sure you check the label to see if you’re in the clear.
Otherwise, keep away from ibuprofen or consult your doctor if you:
- Have a history of allergic reaction to ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, which can include symptoms like a running nose or wheezing.
- Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
- Have a high blood pressure that isn’t being controlled by other (ibuprofen-compatible) medications.
- Have had an ulcer, a perforation, or general bleeding in your stomach.
- Have any health problems that come with an increased chance of bleeding.
- Have liver issues like fibrosis, cirrhosis, or outright liver failure.
- Have heart disease or failure.
- Have kidney failure.
- Have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Have chickenpox or its later form, shingles.
Also, note that stomach ulcers are more common if ibuprofen is being ingested when you’re over the age of sixty-five.
As for amoxicillin, there aren’t many limitations on how it can be taken. Fortunately, it can be taken by both adults and children, even if the adults are pregnant and breastfeeding, which can’t be said for other antibiotics out there.
So where shouldn’t you take amoxicillin and consult your doctor?
- If you’ve had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin or any penicillin in the past.
- If you have a history of liver or kidney issues.
- If you’ve just had, or you’re about to have any vaccinations.
Potential Side Effects
So, we know ibuprofen and amoxicillin are compatible, great news! That doesn’t mean there won’t be potential side effects, however, so let’s go through them.
If any of the below side effects affect you or don’t subside, visit your doctor or the pharmacist who prescribed the medications.
The rate of common side effects for ibuprofen is approximately one in one hundred when ingested, the main method for taking ibuprofen. What are these side effects?
- Nausea and dizziness.
- Increased flatulence.
There are also more serious side effects where you should call a doctor right away if you have them. These are:
- Bloody or black stool, a sign of stomach bleeding.
- Blood in urine, difficulty urinating, or ankle swelling, all of which are signs of kidney issues.
- Chest or stomach pain, a sign of a perforation in the gut.
- Asthma symptoms, or difficulty breathing, that become noticeably worse.
While rare, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to ibuprofen. If that happens, you need to get to a medical professional right away.
Amoxicillin has fewer side effects than ibuprofen, which isn’t surprising given how compatible it is with different drugs and people. The common side effects are just nausea or diarrhea with no further symptoms.
As for the serious side effects, they’re incredibly rare at a rate of one in one thousand. Some of these side effects can present themselves as far as two months after taking amoxicillin, so be wary.
Contact your doctor straight away if you get any of the following:
- Diarrhea that contains blood or mucus or lasts for longer than four days.
- Lighter stool and darker urination with yellowed skin or eye whites, a sign of liver or gallbladder issues.
- Skin discoloration or easy bruising.
- Joint pain that onsets two days after taking amoxicillin.
- Circular red patch rashes on your skin.
Amoxicillin has a higher rate of allergic reaction than ibuprofen at approximately one in fifteen.
Sometimes they can be more serious and result in anaphylaxis, though this is rare.