Ibuprofen the Risk Vs Benefit In Pancreatitis

By | October 7, 2016
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ibuprofen the risk vs benefit in pancreatitisIn this article “Ibuprofen the Risk Vs Benefit In Pancreatitis” I’m going to do my best to explain why I believe Ibuprofen is the best first line of defense when the pancreas is inflamed.

I have previously written about my usage of Ibuprofen for pancreatitis but it seems that many are showing undo concern. Thank the Lord I haven’t had to use Ibuprofen for quite sometime.

The ONLY time I use it is when I am in severe pain due to an acute pancreatitis attack. Over the last year I have read many comment expressing concerns over the use of Ibuprofen for the elimination of pancreatic inflammation. So I think it appropriate to cover the Ibuprofen issue.

It’s true that Ibuprofen is NOT safe.

Ibuprofen can definitely cause intestinal bleeding. It can cause heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney and liver failure but what nobody seems to mention is that MOST of the risk comes from those who are OLDER and or already have potential bleeding risk issues (ulcer etc). Those who nay-say against Ibuprofen do not mention that most issues develop in those who take HIGH doses, more than 1200 mg per day for more than 14 days.

Most studies I’ve read challenge people for 28 days.

NOW, bleeding can result in as few as 3 days after initial dose. Here are some articles:

1) Association Between Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Bleeding/Perforation
An Overview of Epidemiologic Studies Published in the 1990s Read here

2) Dose–response relationships between individual nonaspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and serious upper gastrointestinal bleeding: a meta-analysis based on individual patient data read here

3) High Doses Of Ibuprofen Cause Significant GI Bleeding, Despite Safety Profile read here

4) FDA Assessment of Safety of aspirin and other Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory DrugS (NSAIDs) read here

One has to determine what exactly is more important at the exact time. Risk of complications or the benefit of reducing, even eliminating the inflammation, symptoms and most likely the resulting damage to the pancreas WHICH may or may not heal.

That is WHY I use ibuprofen when necessary. It’s an anti-inflammatory drug. Hence the reason it is classified as an NSAID. Drugs are not safe. ALL drugs (even aspirin) can cause complications, even kill you. That’s why I try to avoid drugs at all costs and use them ONLY when absolutely necessary.

Risk Vs Benefit

We’ve already established that there is inherent risks when using Ibuprofen, especially in larger than normal doses or even “use as directed” doses for extended periods of time. Like I said ALL NSAIDS (aspirin included) cause intestinal bleeding. NSAIDS, other than aspirin, can cause heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm and high blood pressure. Nobody, including myself, is disputing that fact. But …

When you consider that the longer the inflammation is allowed to keep reaping havoc the more damage your pancreas will sustain you may want to take it anyway because Ibuprofen does eliminate the inflammation of acute and chronic pancreatitis. And it seems that when the inflammation is eliminated, the pancreas damage stops.

While doctors and scientists are trying to discover which chemical pathway does this or that I already know that once the inflammation is totally eliminated the damage stops. Once the inflammation totally eliminated the pancreas can heal. There is even suspicious evidence that indicates the pancreas may even regenerate like the liver in some cases.

But what is the first step?

The inflammation must be eliminated.

health-benefits-of-vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid-1curcumin grape-seed-extract

Grape Seed Extract, Curcumin and Vitamin C

The reason I developed this three supplement cocktail after God led me to them is that ALL three are highly anti-inflammatory, pancreas friendly, non-toxic and the result of usage is the resolution of pancreas inflammation. And none of them cause life threatening complications.

That is the goal.

The elimination of pancreatic inflammation without complications. Again, once that goal is achieved the pancreas can heal, possibly regenerate.

Grape seed extract and vitamin C are the two work horses. They are safe for those with gallbladder issues (stones, sludge) who have not yet had their GB removed. They are safe for those who have SOD (sphincter of oddi dysfunction). While turmeric and curcumin (comes from the turmeric root) are not.

For those who do NOT have gallbladder issues or SOD curcumin in larger doses can reduce inflammation as well as any NSAID yet in high doses curcumin can also cause nausea and vomiting. Curcumin is usually well tolerated in most people at doses less than 2500 mgs per day.

Another great supplement, though I do NOT talk about it much because it can interact with drugs in a very dangerous way is Grapefruit seed extract (or grapefruit juice). Grapefruit seed extract (not to be confused with grape seed extract) was proven in one study to actually protect the pancreas from induced pancreatitis.

It was a small study done on rats (yes I know we are not rats, well some humans are rats) but years ago the Lord led me to grapefruit juice (long story) and shortly after my acute pancreatitis attacks STOPPED. Then I found the study done on rats and that made me go HMMMMMMMMM!

In conclusion of this article: Ibuprofen the Risk Vs Benefit In Pancreatitis, the benefit of using Ibuprofen is very clear to me. It quickly eliminates the inflammation seen in both acute and chronic pancreatitis. I do NOT recommend using it long-term. That is what the supplement cocktail is for.

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32 thoughts on “Ibuprofen the Risk Vs Benefit In Pancreatitis

  1. paulstanway

    Thanks for this healthguy. Ibuprofen definitely helps a lot. I’ve had pancreatitis for around 5 months now and its taken a lot of getting used to. I was a bit concerned about people taking large doses of ibuprofen on an empty stomach for long periods of time – mostly because of the risks of internal bleeding. To get around this I recommend using ibuprofen gel instead. I rub it directly into the skin, in a ring around the bottom of my rib cage and it works really well.

    1. Alex

      I got issues using ibuprofen internally since i have pancreatitis. Although It helps the pancreas inflammation my intestines start to hurt like hell. I never had issue using it before i had pancreatitis. I think the reason why I get this problem and others dont is because along with the pancreatitis I have complete constipation and gastroparesis. Therefore when i take the Ibuprofen I think it lingers for too long within my intestines and irritates it because of the gastroparesis. Its too bad because I have been having trouble completely stopping my chronic pancreatitis and would love to be able to take the 800mg without irritating my intestines :(.

      note: I have done the fasting, I follow the zero fat diet and take the supplements suggested by healthguy and they have helped tremendously thanks to him 🙂 but I still havent managed to completely get rid of the pain for good and i think its because I havent been able to add the right dosage of Ibuprofen to the formula but I cant because It hurts my intestines when i take it 🙁

      Now I got a question for you paul because I would like to try your alternative. When you say you use Ibuprofen gel instead do you mean you use a gel capsule that you open and rub on your skin ? or do you mean you use an actual Ibuprofen gel that comes in a tube and is for topical use ? The reason why I ask is because those are only available in europe.
      Also how do you make sure your getting an 800mg dose when using ibuprofen topically ?

      Please help this mite be my chance to stop this persistent dreadful disease!

      1. The Health Guy Post author

        Hi Alex – IF you live in the USA like me chances are you wo’t be getting any Ibuprofen gel for sometime to come. In 2009 the FDA cracked down on manufacturers who were distributing the drug in gel form without FDA approval read here. Anyway …

        Curcumin is very similar in anti-inflammatory power. You may want to try curcumin just to see if it helps. I’d also suggest grape seed extract and vitamin C. Those three supplements combined to gether work synergistically to fight inflammation. I read where you are already using those 3 supplements so you may want to consider increasing the doses. Especially on grape seed extract. Diet and supplements (in the right doses – trial and error) are the KEY to resolving the inflammation of chronic pancreatitis. Be advised (even though it is non-toxic in respect it won’t killl you) curcumin can be hard on the digestive tract creating nausea and vomiting in large doses. I’d stay under 3,000 mgs per day (curcumin). Grape seed extract is the one to be used in higher doses. So you could try udjusting your doses (the three supplements) just to see what happens. People who have more damage need more (higher doses) than others with less. 🙂

        1. Alex

          Hi health guy,
          Thank you for your reply and suggestions 🙂 . I have tried increasing the dosage even sometimes higher that what you recommended but when i get those bad day it feels like they just prevent my pancreas from swelling more (which is already great 🙂 ) but not really drasticaly unswell. Luckily, I finally found a way around the ibuprofen and gut issues. I went to the ER yesterday beacuse I was in so much pain I thoungh i could never sleep again. Althouh i hate going and usually do not get results out of it. This time I got extremely lucky and found an amazing Doctor there. That young doctor gave me a injection of ketorolac (toradol). As I had assumed getting IV did not give me any intestinal pain at all :). It helped a great deal but my pain didn’t disappear but much more tolerable. I would love to go back and know the dosage she gave so i will go get my med records. Hopefully next ill be able to get an injection of a different anti inflammatory at a higher dosage and see if that does it ( while taking the supplements of course). In the end I finally managed to sleep a full night last night and it feels great 🙂

          1. The Health Guy Post author

            Hi Alex – You said: ” I have tried increasing the dosage even sometimes higher that what you recommended but when i get those bad day it feels like they just prevent my pancreas from swelling more (which is already great :-)) but not really drasticaly unswell.”

            Alex, you can always increase the doses. Vitamin C, Grape seed extract and curcumin are non-toxic. They might cause detox symptoms. Curcumin can cause stomach issues (nausea and vomiting) in HIGH doses. I’d increase curcumin slowly. I’d use grape seed extract as the “work horse.” And I’d simply increase the dose until I got the results I was seeking. That’s what I’d do. Not saying it’s right. You have to do what you think is right and safe.

  2. Polly

    I have used Ibuprofen for pancreatitis. 800 mg every 8 hours for up to three days in a row. This is the only thing that touches the pain and makes me be able to work. I still take the supplements with the Ibuprofen. Aloe juice and herbal teas. I can honestly say since finding this website I have never had to go back to the ER for pain control. The ER and being admitted was the worst. I came out after three days dehydrated with pneumonia and on oxygen. I wish I would have known about Ibuprofen then!

  3. Stephen Monahan

    I had acute pancreatitis back in 2015 and was hospitalized for 4.5 months & had a surgical drain in for 6 months in total. It was 10 months before I got back to work & I never touched alcohol for a year. I take grapeseed 300mg two or 3 times a day, 1000mg vitamin C with rosehips once a day & 100mg grapefruit seed extract twice a day. I have been able to eat what I want for quite some time & also have a few beers once or twice a week though I do tend to avoid spirits. I have been getting away with this though at times I do feel sluggish & worry I may be storing myself trouble for the future. I also used to abuse cocaine quite regularly though I try my very best to abstain though dont always succeed. I take 40000 Creon with every meal though the 40000 are very hard to get in the UK due to a supply issue so I have to rely on 4 of the 10000 unit tablets. I eventually had my gallbladder removed & have suffered no issues so would it be safe for me to take the 500mg curcumin with bioperine tablets I have? Many thanks your blogs helped me no end while I was in hospital, I certainly got more guidance from you than the doctors or dieticians.


    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Stephen – I’m glad to hear you like this site and you are most welcome. It’s great to hear you are doing well, especially considering your diet. I’m guessing curcumin might be ok. You could try it and watch for any unwanted symptoms. The ONLY reason I’m cautious is because some people (mostly females, but males sometimes too) seem to also suffer from SOD after GB surgery.

      1. jon butler

        Hi health guy my name is Jon butler I’m am new to a.c. and I’m struggling with diet and supplements could you please email me so we could talk about helping me as I don’t understand how to use the blog thing I struggle with email but this is the only way I can try talk to someone or if anyone else reads this could message me and help me get in touch with health guy

        Thanks jon

  4. josie

    Hi Paul, Thank you so much for your blog. I found it this morning while suffering from an attack and really enjoyed your content under the category ‘God Stuff’. Actually I believe I have been suffering for months but ignored it until I had a severe attack nearly 6 days ago and have experienced pain this whole time with the exception of a 38hr dry fast where the pain went away but it came back real strong after I had orange juice. I went to the doctors today so I will be having some blood and ultrasound tests to get a better diagnosis. I accidently bought grape seed extract and no grapefruit extract though so I’m really disappointed at myself although I thought felt better for taking that. I will look into taking the curicum later when I can make sureI don’t have any of the other contradicting issues you mention like SOD. I’m really scared, I didn’t realise how serious this condition was so I’m heading back to get more comfort from your ‘God Stuff’ section:) God bless you:)

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Josie – grape seed extract is excellent. It is my personal workhorse supplement. I drink grapefruit juice instead of taking the supplement however the supplement is cheaper than juice but I like the juice lol Anyway … if you are ill and suspect AP you should go to the ER. I will pray for you so get well 🙂

  5. Tammi

    I had weight loss surgery & cannot take any NSAIDS. As a matter of fact, I read online to take grape seed extract & aspirin for Pancreatitis. I did, excessively. I wound up having emergency abdominal surgery to repair a hole in my stomach. I was in the hospital for 28 days. Is there any non-NSAID alternative to ibuprofen you might recommend for pain?

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Tammi – I’ve done both aspirin and Ibuprofen with grape seed extract but never in excessive amounts. I’ve tried them in combination (aspirin and Ibuprofen together) and separately. Ibuprofen is the best of the two and coupled with grape seed extract and curcumin work well in appropriate doses but they (aspirin and/or Ibuprofen) should (IMHO) never be taken for long-term or in excessive amounts. I’m sorry you found out why the hard way. THAT must have sucked 🙁 … The only option I can think of would be curcumin. In large doses curcumin is as good at relieving pain and inflammation as are NSAIDS BUT curcumin, in large doses, can also cause some nasty stomach issues, nausea, vomiting and pain. So I’d start out slow and work up in dosage until I either realized relief (the goal) or began to experience unwanted symptoms in which case I’d back off. I’m sorry but I don’t have any other ideas.

  6. Christy Arthur

    I really like your blog, lots of good information. I do have a question though. I had an attack of acute pancreatitis back in February…super horrible ???. I know they strongly caution against smoking cigarettes, i use a vape. Do you have any advice on vaping? Thank you for any advice you might have on this.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Christy – I’m sorry to hear you have experienced AP; I know it sucks. I have no clue whether vaping is good or bad. I just quit smoking (last September) after almost 47 years of smoking. I now feel so incredible, like super man! (sarcastic). I have yet o experience any change (other than some really bad withdrawl and cravings) since quitting.

  7. Christina

    Because my husband experiences pain in his gut area often, would it be possible for him to apply ibuprofen gel caps topically on his stomach area (as I’ve read others do) vs ingesting it frequently. I would think that the risk of damaging his stomach lining would be eliminated or greatly reduced. If so, canheI apply as often as he needs to. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Great question Christina – unfortunately I don’t have a good answer because I don’t know. I have never applied ibuprofen gel to a skin area. I have always ingested it. I wish I could be more help. If others have done it with success I would imagine it would be worth a try. Personally the risk of injuring my stomach lining never crossed my mind but getting rid of the inflammation and pain did. I look at things weird. The risk of stomach lining erosion with a few days usage is probably low but the pancreas inflammation could result in damage that is life altering very quickly. Just my thoughts and not necessarily right ones.

  8. Penny

    Dear healthy guy, thank you so much for all this information. Recently I had my third and fourth AP within 2,5 weeks and haven been hospitalized for several days. Despite the strict diet, the grapeseed, the curcumin and enzymes I still have diarrhea. The last attack was 3 months ago. Do you have any suggestions in what I should do? My doctor described psyllium fibers for solving the diarrhea. What’s your opinion on this?
    And there is another question I would like to ask to you. The doctors can’t find the cause for my problem. And I seen you post a video of a doctor named doctor Whitcomb. In this video he speaks about complex genetics as possible cause. Do you have any idea what this means? And have you heard of others who have also pancreatitis where this type of pancreatitis have been examined? Thank you so much in advance .

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Penny – first I am sorry I have taken so long to respond and especially so since when you asked you were sick 🙁 I have NO excuse I forgot to check my site. Now to answer your questions …
      1) My doctor described psyllium fibers for solving the diarrhea. What’s your opinion on this?
      Could be useful. It’s ironic but they help with both constipation and diarrhea.

      2) The doctors can’t find the cause for my problem. And I seen you post a video of a doctor named doctor Whitcomb. In this video he speaks about complex genetics as possible cause. Do you have any idea what this means?
      There are various genes that mutate causing pancreatitis. One gene can mutate and cause hereditary pancreatitis, another that can cause alcoholic pancreatitis in folks who are not alcoholics. Here is an article authored by Dr. David Whitcomb: Genetics of Pancreatitis

      3) And have you heard of others who have also pancreatitis where this type of pancreatitis have been examined?
      Yes. I often have people visit who have been diagnosed with genetic mutations/variations

      Again Penny I am sorry I have taken so long to respond and I certainly hope you are feeling much better by now. 🙂

      1. Penny

        Thank you for your answer. I am going to read the article of dr. Whitcomb. Thank you again for all the information you share with us. With kind regards, Penny

          1. Penny

            Dear healthy guy,
            Recently I was told in an academic hospital that the acute pancreatitis is caused by gallstones that are made in the liver. This was seen at an end ultrasound scan (my galbladder was removed in 2016 and since then I have been in the hospital four times with pancreatitis). The doctor saw changes to the pancreas due to the acute pancreatitis. The doctor indicated that there is no chronic pancreatitis (yet). The criteria for chronic pancreatitis are missing. His advice to me was to eat as little cholesterol as possible. Now I followed all your tips regarding nutrition. Do you have any other tips?
            I also use the supplements, such as grape seed extract, enzymes, vitamin C and the turmeric. I think that turmeric and gallstones are not a good combination. Is that correct?
            I have to admit that I am afraid I will be admitted to the hospital again with a pancreatitis. So I will do everything possible to prevent this. I am very curious about your answers and I want to thank you in advance for the time and energy you put into this.
            With kind regards, Penny

          2. The Health Guy Post author

            Hi Penny I apologize for responding so late. I must admit I haven’t been as diligent as I should be in regards to this site. I understand your fear in regards to having another attack. Stones actually form in the gallbladder from bile that is made by the liver. There are several reasons they can form and one (1) is because your liver produces too much cholesterol or two (2) your liver produces too much bilirubin (usually due to an underlying condition) or three (3) your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly or too slowly allowing stones to form from the concentrated, stagnant bile. Since your gallbladder has been removed chances are good you won’t have any more stone problems. BUT often women who have had stones and have had their GB removed develop a condition called sphincter of oddi dysfunction which can prove problematic so … Yes, it may be wise to tread lightly with the turmeric or even avoid it. The vitamin C and grape seed extract are very good at helping the pancreas stay mild mannered and heal. Again, please forgive me for being so late in responding. I hope you are feeling better very soon 🙂

  9. Heidi K Wells

    I was diagnosed with CP in 2016. I never had an AP acute attack but started having symptoms that lead to me getting a fecal test. It showed my pancreas functioning at 110 (vs 425 the normal rate). I delved I to websites and was so thankful to find this one. I take the supplements and have kept my symptoms at bay. I take 5 Lypo Gold per meal as I couldn’t afford Creon. It works. I take grape seed extract daily, in the morning. I think I’m actually having a real attack now because I stupidly ate things I shouldnt haveover the last week (nuts, tomatos, using too much ghee) and I woke up with burning through to my back and heaviness in my chest. I just took 400 ibuprofen, 2 grapeseed extract and 1 curcumin. Should I go to the ER? Is there any point? No food all morning, I tried to sip plain fennel tea and it burnnnnned. Any advise would help. I have IBS off and on and GERD so I can’t do grapefruit juice.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Heidi – I am sorry this response is so late – I hope if you got worse you went the er/ed? By the way it is the nuts and ghee that are the problems – both are very high in fat. I can’t tolerate them. Tomatoes are good and have no fat but offer lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Remember FAT and ALCOHOL are the two main enemies for those who have CP with no underlying condition issues that have not been resolved.

    2. Paul

      I had a moderate acute pancreatitis attack just over a year and a half ago which led to six days in hospital on IV hydration and pain meds. I have had tests since and mine appears to be caused by pancreas divisum. Doctors assure me I haven’t developed CP and may never go on to do so but whenever I have any form of gastric or digestive complaint, even if it’s short lived I panic. I’ve found your site very helpful and supportive and I use Ibuprofen, grape seed extract and turmeric whenever I feel any discomfort to nip it in the bud and thankfully I’m still ‘proper’ attack free. I once left it 24 hours and had to get emergency Tramadol from my GP and think if I’d have done the Ibuprofen the inflammation wouldn’t have happened. Thankfully that controlled pain long enough for Ibuprofen to kick in over a day further.

      1. The Health Guy Post author

        Hi Paul I’m sorry to hear you suffer with pancreas divisum. I’m glad to hear Ibuprofen helps you too. Try as well as you can to keep your inflammation under control and out of an AP situation. Too many recurrent bouts can lead to CP. Not trying to scare you. Knowledge can keep you from CP by keeping your acute episodes at bay. Pancreas divisum is difficult to treat so you need to be vigilant.


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