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A dumbed-down explanation of ibuprofen

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

A Twitter conversation about how ibuprofen works:


How does ibuprofen know what part of my body is in pain?


Ibuprofen binds specifically to the cylooxgenase enzymes in your body(cox 1 and cox 2) to inhibit the production of prostanoids (which are mainly responsible for inflammatory pain).

Ibuprofen would be considered a cox antagonist


Can you dumb it down for me?


Ibuprofen reacts with drug receptor.

Ibuprofen say stop making that shit that causes inflammation.

The receptor listens to the Ibuprofen because its a little bitch.

Now all inflammatory pain is gone.

That’s a hilarious tinker-with-your-ticker explanation. (Despite my deep unease with the word “bitch.”) Some caveats though…

“All” he says! 😜 Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective for some jobs, but they don’t exactly work miracles, and they have some truly serious side effects. Do not overuse NSAIDs! Sparing, temporary use only, please. Details and references for that topic are available in many places around, like this article: Voltaren Gel: Does It Work?.