Ibuprofen as an over-the-counter drug: is there a risk for renal injury?

Clin Nephrol. 1993 Jan;39(1):1-6.


Ibuprofen has recently been introduced as over-the-counter drug in several countries. The question has been raised whether or not the increased availability and use of ibuprofen as over-the-counter drug will be associated with an increased incidence of nephrotoxic side-effects. It is unquestionable that ibuprofen can cause renal damage, including functional acute renal failure, water and electrolyte disorders, and interstitial nephritis. Analgesic nephropathy is not a documented consequence of ibuprofen therapy. Renal side-effects of ibuprofen appear to be dose-dependent, and were not reported at the recommended dosage as over-the-counter drug (0.2-0.8 g/d) except for a single child. Even at anti-inflammatory doses (> 1.6 g/d), renal side-effects are almost exclusively encountered in patients with low intravascular volume and low cardiac output particularly in old age. Alternative analgesic and antipyretic agents display no less risk for renal injury than ibuprofen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen* / adverse effects
  • Ibuprofen* / therapeutic use
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Nonprescription Drugs*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Ibuprofen