Does Ibuprofen Thin Your Blood?


Blood thinners are substances used to prevent your blood from clotting. It is essential that your blood clot when you have an injury to prevent excessive bleeding and death.

However, individuals at risk of having myocardial infarction or other heart diseases will find blood thinners incorporated into their drug regimen at one time or the other This is because these drugs prevent clot formation which play a key role in the pathogenesis of heart disease.

Classical examples of blood thinners are Aspirin and Warfarin.

Ibuprofen belongs to the class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Other types of  NSAIDs include:

  • Diclofenac
  • Aspirin
  • Indomethacin
  • Naproxen
  • Celecoxib
  • Etoricoxib
  • Mefenamic acid

NSAIDs produce their analgesic and antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting cyclooxygenase enzymes.

Cyclooxygenase enzymes catalyse the production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes from membrane phospholipids such as arachidonic acid.

Prostaglandins play modulatory roles while Thromboxane A2 acts as a potent vasoconstrictor and platelet aggregation

There are 2 types of COX enzyme

COX-1 enzyme:  Is described as a housekeeping enzyme, because it is always present during homeostatic processes such as gastric acid production, vascular homeostasis and platelet aggregation

COX-2 enzyme:  This is constitutively produced in response to an inflammatory process. Inflammation is the response of the body to an injurious stimulus like infections, or physical injuries.

Most NSAIDs inhibit both variants of the COX enzymes to varying degrees.

Ibuprofen is a non-specific reversible inhibitor of both Cox1 and Cox 2 enzymes, whereas acetaminophen (Paracetamol) selectively inhibits only Cox 2 enzymes, thus reducing its risk of causing stomach disorders like bleeding and ulceration. 

Ibuprofen is considered for use mostly in relieving severe pain like toothache and menstrual cramps. It is also used to reduce fever and inflammation produced as a result of sustained  injury.

Is ibuprofen considered a blood thinner?

Ordinarily, Ibuprofen isn’t considered the first line of drug when considering the use of blood thinners. However, its mechanism of action somewhat interferes with bleeding time, hence, it can be considered as a blood thinner.

Who is at risk of taking ibuprofen?

Risks of taking ibuprofen 

The following individuals are at risk of taking ibuprofen; 

  • Individuals who have ulcers are at risk of taking ibuprofen because ibuprofen inhibits enzymes that produce chemicals that protect the stomach lining
  • Individual taking oral anticoagulants. Anticoagulants prevent your blood from clotting. Persons who take anticoagulants and NSAIDs concomitantly stand the risk of bleeding
  • Research show that NSAIDs increase the risk of having heart disease like Heart failure 
  • Pregnant women. The U.S. FDA issued a warning that NSAID use should be avoided between 20 weeks of gestation till delivery of the baby. This is because the use of NSAIDs has been linked to a reduction in amniotic fluid. Its use is also known to pose serious kidney dysfunction in the baby later in life

Complications of long term ibuprofen usage

Complications that can arise from long-term Ibuprofen usage include:

  • Stomach ulcer
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Anaemia
  • Increased risk of heart attack or failure
  • Liver and kidney damage, because ibuprofen is metabolised and excreted by these two organs respectively

Other natural blood thinners

Some natural food and spices are considered as blood thinners, These include:

  • Turmeric: A study showed that curcumin and its derivatives present in turmeric were able to increase bleeding time. Hence its use as blood thinner1
  • Cayenne pepper and ginger contain salicylate like its synthetic. Aspirin has also been considered a blood thinner
  • Cinnamon contains a blood thinner known as coumarin

Other natural blood thinners include:

  • Extracts from Grape seed
  • Ginseng
  • Pineapple
  • Vitamin E containing food and supplements


Ibuprofen, though an over-the-counter drug, must be used with caution.

You need to take extra care to ensure your diet does not contain a blood thinner anytime you need to take Ibuprofen.

It is always best to seek professional medical advice before you take any medication.


  1. Kim DC, Ku SK, Bae JS. Anticoagulant activities of curcumin and its derivative. BMB Rep. 2012 Apr;45(4):221-6. doi: 10.5483/bmbrep.2012.45.4.221. PMID: 22531131.
  2. Heart attack[Internet]. [cited29 August 2022].  Available from
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Abigail Akhigbemen

MSc, Pharmacology&Toxicology, University of Benin, Nigeria

"As a pharmacist in academics, I find fulfilment in teaching, researching and writing. I have a passion for and am inspired by the pursuit for solutions to pressing disease and factors that affects mental health and wellness.I have taught a wide range of health and drug-related topics to Medical, Pharmacy, Science laboratory, Physiotherapy and Medical laboratory science students for the past 7 years, designing and supervising their undergraduate thesis/project."

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