When you have a sore throat, the last thing you want to do is swallow. That's why many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medication like ibuprofen to help ease the pain and swelling. But does ibuprofen really help with sore throat? Let's take a closer look.

How Ibuprofen Works

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation in the body. This can help relieve pain and swelling associated with conditions like arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps. Some research has shown that NSAIDs may also be effective in treating sore throat.

One study looked at the effectiveness of ibuprofen compared to placebo in reducing pain from sore throat. The study found that participants who took ibuprofen had significantly less pain than those who took placebo. Another study found that ibuprofen was more effective than placebo in reducing swelling associated with sore throat.

Side Effects of Ibuprofen

While ibuprofen can be effective in treating sore throat, it's important to be aware of potential side effects. NSAIDs like ibuprofen can cause stomach upset, heartburn, and nausea. They can also increase your risk for ulcers and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. If you have any history of gastrointestinal problems, you should talk to your doctor before taking NSAIDs.

Ibuprofen can also cause kidney damage and lead to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, so it's important to talk to your doctor before taking this medication—especially if you have any history of cardiovascular disease or kidney problems.


If you're considering taking ibuprofen for your sore throat, it's important to weigh the pros and cons first. Ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling associated with sore throat, but it also comes with some risks. Talk to your doctor about whether taking ibuprofen is right for you. They can help you determine the best way to treat your sore throat while minimizing your risk for side effects.

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