Why You Shouldn’t Mix Warfarin and Ibuprofen


Why You Shouldn’t Mix Warfarin and Ibuprofen

Jennifer Hadley
By Jennifer Hadley
Feb 16, 2021
Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Medically Reviewed ByCarina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS
Why You Shouldn’t Mix Warfarin and Ibuprofen

Common household medications that contain ibuprofen should be avoided if you’re taking the anticoagulant warfarin (brand drugs Coumadin and Jantoven).

Ibuprofen is found in over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil and Motrin. In the same class as ibuprofen is meloxicam (brand drug Mobic), which is a prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs).

Here is a look at why you shouldn’t mix warfarin and ibuprofen.

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Can you take warfarin and ibuprofen together?

You should not take warfarin and ibuprofen at the same time. Warfarin, and other drugs that are prescribed to prevent blood clots increase your risk of excessive bleeding.

NSAIDs also increase your risk of excessive bleedings, particularly in the stomach, thus it is very risky to take both at the same time.

Why can’t I mix warfarin and ibuprofen?

Although commonly referred to as a blood-thinner, warfarin is better described as an anticoagulant. It is prescribed to treat and prevent blood clots. It works by decreasing certain clotting proteins in your blood, so that your blood flows more easily.

Unfortunately, this also increases your risk of internal bleeding.

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs affect the way platelets in the blood work, and can also interfere with normal blood clotting. In other words, because ibuprofen can increase your risk for internal excessive bleeding, and warfarin also increases your risk for internal bleeding while it “thins” your blood, it is dangerous to take both at the same time.

What happens when warfarin is mixed with ibuprofen?

Warfarin can be a life-saving drug. However, it is a medication that comes with risk, and those taking warfarin should be closely monitored by a health care provider. The same mechanism in warfarin that prevents blood clots, is the mechanism that can lead to excessive bleeding. Because NSAIDs are also known to increase the risk of bleeding, the potential for a dangerous internal bleed exists when warfarin is mixed with ibuprofen.

It should be noted that some individuals are prescribed both warfarin and certain NSAIDs, but only under close monitoring of their health care provider. If you are prescribed warfarin, you should never take ibuprofen products without first talking to your health care provider.

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What pain reliever can be taken with warfarin?

Your best option for pain relief if you’re taking warfarin is acetaminophen, which is generic for Tylenol. However, you should take the lowest possible dose, as excessively high doses of acetaminophen put you at risk for liver damage. All medications containing ibuprofen or aspirin should be avoided when taking warfarin.

Always Talk to Your Health Care Provider

Before you mix any type of pain reliever or any other medication with an anticoagulant (“blood thinner”), be sure to consult your health care provider. Health care providers can advise you on medications to avoid, based on your current prescriptions.

If you cannot reach your health provider, you can also call or stop by your local pharmacy to ask the pharmacist about possible drug interactions between over-the-counter medication and warfarin.

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley

Jen Hadley is a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, who writes extensively about the medical, legal, health care, and consumer products industries. Jen is a regular contributor to RxSaver.

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS., is a pharmacist who earned her PharmD from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. She maintains an active practice, serving as a Board-Certified Pediatric Pharmacotherapy Specialist at a large metropolitan teaching hospital in New York City. Carina has also published in pharmacy journals and works as a consultant reviewing medical articles for publication.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

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