Can Advil Help Decrease Anxiety Symptoms?

Advil is one of several marketing brand names for the widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly known as ibuprofen.

This drug is available both over-the-counter as well as in prescription strength.

It is used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints) and rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints).

Advil and Anxiety

Advil does not directly help in reducing anxiety. That isn't to suggest that it can't in some manner indirectly help with anxiety. For instance, if one's anxiety is being caused by pain or by cold and flu, and Advil is used to address these symptoms (and, as a consequence, reduces one's anxiety) then the argument can be made that it helps with anxiety. However, relying on this path as a means of anxiety reduction is neither doctor-recommended nor even acknowledged by the US Food and Drug Administration. Because Advil can cause serious internal problems in some people, the drug should only be used for its intended and approved purposes, or under a doctor's care for other indications. There are many anxiety drugs available for treating the condition.

Advil and Pain

Advil, or ibuprofen, is also used to relieve mild to moderate pain. Over-the-counter ibuprofen reduces fever and relieves mild pain from headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, menstrual periods, colds, toothaches, backaches, and similarly-caused pain that arises from inflammation. The drug works by blocking the body's production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation, according to the US Library of Medicine.

Combination Medications

Advil is sold as an independent oral medication but can also be found in many different combination products. Unlike plain Advil, which tends to treat pain caused by inflammation, the combination medications are designed to treat symptoms related to allergies, congestion, sinus problems, severe pain, and problems sleeping that are associated with a cold or flu.

Advil Side Effects

Common side effects associated with Advil include:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Gas or bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

There are more serious side effects associated with Advil, but these are rare. To see what these are, check out the NLM's entry on ibuprofen.

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