What Is IV Ibuprofen?

C.B. Fox

Intravenous, or IV, ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is given to a patient through an IV. This medication is used to treat pain and swelling and is appropriate for patients who require a steady supply of this medication or for those who are unable to swallow the medication in oral form. It is as safe for patients to use as other forms of ibuprofen and can often be administered in lieu of opioids, which are easy to become addicted to.

A patient can receive pain relief through an IV that mixes the drug with fluids.
A patient can receive pain relief through an IV that mixes the drug with fluids.

The primary use for IV ibuprofen is in the management of pain and inflammation. Scientists aren't sure exactly how NSAIDs reduce swelling though they do know that these medications work by preventing the body from creating the enzymes that cause swelling, which in turn leads to pain and irritation. Patients who have injuries or who have undergone surgery may be given IV ibuprofen in the hospital for a limited amount of time. In other cases, patients with chronic conditions that are hooked up to intravenous lines may be given this medication for the long term management of pain, such as that caused by arthritis or joint problems.

A patient receives pain relief medication via the intravenous site.
A patient receives pain relief medication via the intravenous site.

The main benefit to administering IV ibuprofen rather than oral ibuprofen is that the drug can be doled out a small amount at a time. Infusing ibuprofen into an intravenous bag and then allowing the fluids to enter a patient's body slowly can help keep a consistent level of the drug in a patient's bloodstream. It can also be given to patients who cannot swallow medication or to patients who experience severe irritation of the gastrointestinal tract as a result of taking this medication in an oral form.

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Another benefit to the use of IV ibuprofen is that it can be given to patients instead of other types of pain killers. Many other types of painkillers or anti-inflammatories can cause physical and psychological dependence and may require that a patient stop taking them gradually. With IV ibuprofen, the patient can stop taking the medication as soon as it is no longer needed and is not likely to suffer from any symptoms of physical addiction.

There are a number of potential adverse reactions associated with the use of IV ibuprofen. Like other forms of this drug, it has been linked to increased blood clotting, a symptom that can increase a patient's risk of heart attack or stroke. It can also cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, even though it is delivered directly into the patient's bloodstream.

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