Pain Relief

I think I read somewhere this morning that people with asthma must be careful about taking certain pain relievers.  I try not to take much, but when I do, I usually take ibuprofen (Advil).  My doctor suggested that a long time ago and said it would be easier on my liver.

Does anyone here have any thoughts on this?


Comments 7

  • Megan Roberts

    Hey @lindamarie, according to the information I've found on webmd and elsewhere, about 10-20% of adults with asthma have like ibuprofen or aspirin which can trigger an asthma attack. Have you ever experienced asthma symptoms after taking advil? If you have, maybe you could try taking acetaminophen instead?  

  • lindamarie

    Thanks @Megan Roberts!  I have trouble connecting what the causes of my asthma symptoms are.  I think I have a habit of trying to ignore things that are troublesome until all of a sudden, "bam", and it gets bad enough for me to notice…  Don't really know what to do about that.  I quit taking acetaminophen some time back because my blood work showed high numbers re my liver.  Guess I won't know about that until I have blood work done again.

  • Megan Roberts

    I can really relate to that. I am not terribly observant of my own body. It wasn't until I started reading about people's experiences here in the forums and researching asthma that I learned to pay attention so I could figure out my triggers (thank god!) which has been so helpful. 

    Well, hopefully you don't fall into that 10-20% of asthma sufferers who have symptoms worsen as a result of taking NSAIDs or ibuprofen. It doesn't sounds like it would be a good idea to try switching to acetaminophen considering your doc's recommendations. It looks like NSAIDs/advil are better metabolized by the liver but are worse for asthma, and vice versa with acetaminophen! 

    It probably would be a good idea to ask your doc what they suggest if it seems like advil is giving you asthma symptoms. They would be able to prioritize which is safest for you given the full picture of your medical history.

  • Kathy P

    The NSAID sensitivity is the only thing I'm really aware of as a link to asthma as well. I've never seen an issue and I take ibuprophen all the time.

    Listening to your body can be hard! I often don't listen to the little things and then wind up getting slammed – seemingly out of the blue, but when I look back, I realize I should have seen it coming.

    Asthma is not just an "attack" – it's more of a continuum the way I look at it. I try to pay attention to my overall symptoms and then adjust as needed. So, how mucousy am I today? Do I need Mucinex? My mucus buster inhaler? My eyes are itchy, do I need to address that? Does that my allergies are flaring and I need to deal w/ that? Some days, I just  and let things slide. Then I wind up with things more progressed and harder to control.

  • Shea

    I am the same.. I have a hard time listening to my body. I wish I had a little robot that said : "your oxygen is low… Thats why you have a headache.. You are wheezing.. There is a trigger here… Put your mask on.. Take a benadryl… Do a breathing treatment.. Leave this environment.. Take a tylenol, rest"! I try to be that robot to myself, but it is hard. Sometimes I dont realize I am breathing raggedly until my mom says something to me or until its so bad and then Ill have no idea what caused it. And Ill just get a Starbucks and use my rescue inhaler and suffer through it. But Im learning and getting better at finding out the best places and activities and treatments. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, LindaMarie, good that you recognize how a chronic condition can affect many things!

    My doc prefers ibuprofen or naproxen for those of her patients who can have it. She says that while Tylenol is a pain reliever, ibuprofen and naproxen actually treat the underlying inflammation that causes the pain.

    My DD's oral surgeon said something similar when he was bemoaning the fact that she couldn't take ibuprofen or naproxen (she has a bleeding disorder). He said it works at the cellular level and actually can work just as well or better than some opioid meds. (I agree, btw, just on my own experience.)

    If your liver enzymes were high, I can understand wanting to avoid Tylenol. My mom was one of the rare ones who couldn't take aspirin due to asthma. She responded exactly like this medscape article describes for the small percentage of the population that has problems with asprin induced asthma:

    After the ingestion of ASA or NSAIDs, an acute asthma exacerbation occurs within 3 [hours] accompanied by profuse rhinorrhea [runny nose], conjunctival injection [red eyes], periorbital edema [puffy, swollen eyes], and, sometimes, a scarlet flushing of the face and neck.

    Since you're not sure of your triggers, could you keep a trigger diary to see if you can figure out what triggers your asthma? 

    I hope you are able to take ibuprofen … my DD can't, and it makes things very difficult for her.

  • lindamarie

    Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences and your knowledge!!  This makes me feel a lot better about taking ibuprofen because I've never noticed it giving me any trouble!

    HOWEVER - @Shea - If you find out where we can get one of those robots, let me know!!    haha