This man took 1,176 ibuprofen tablets in a month and ended up hospitalised

This man took the painkiller to help with aches and pains, but ended up doing much more damage than good.

Man overdosed on ibuprofen
© David Sacks / Gettyimages
Man overdosed on ibuprofen

We have all been there: you are suffering with a headache, back pain or cramps and you think to yourself, ‘Just take the medication.’ There is, of course, nothing wrong with taking pain killers to help with any discomfort you are experiencing, but they are some of the most commonly abused medications. People do not realise that the dosage limit is to be taken seriously, or you can end up with some very dangerous side effects.

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We have already spoken about the risk you run when you take out-of-date medication, but today we’ll focus on one man’s experience with accidentally overdosing on ibuprofen. The man, known only as SB, ended up in hospital after taking 1,176 ibuprofen tablets in a month.

Why did he take so much?

SB was a big runner, and found his body was causing him a lot of discomfort after intense exercise. The 34-year-old started using over-the-counter painkillers to help him cope with the soreness, but he misunderstood what the packet said about dosage.

He started by taking seven ibuprofen pills in a 24-hour period and felt much better. Unaware of the harm it would cause his body, he upped the dosage. SB started swallowing a few pills in one go, and even forgetting when he’d last taken them. This lead to a crazy situation where he was taking as many as 28 in one day alone.

SB noticed side effects

He continued like this for a few weeks, but started to see the negative side effects. He experienced chest pains, and was tasting blood. He would take pills and feel as if they were stuck in his throat, but didn’t make the link to overdosing - so he would take more to relieve the resulting discomfort! At some point, he started vomiting blood, his stools were bizarrely dark in colour and he was barely able to pee.

SB eventually acknowledged that something was off and took himself to hospital. There, he explained his condition, but still failed to make the connection to his ibuprofen habit.

Doctors shocked by inside of his body

SB was pale, his heart rate was worryingly high, and his blood pressure would drop when he stood up. His doctors concluded that he was dealing with haematemesis - that he was bleeding internally and that was the blood he was vomiting.

Indeed, the NHS suggests that ‘some people feel sick, vomit, have abdominal pain or ringing in their ears (tinnitus) after taking too much ibuprofen’. In SB’s case, it had gone on for so long that he had bleeding ulcers in his oesophagus and his stomach and his kidneys were failing.

Thankfully, the medics managed to cauterise his bleeding, and gave him urgent dialysis treatment to save his kidneys. SB responded well to the treatment, and lived to tell the tale.

It transpired that he had consumed a whopping 1,176 ibuprofen tablets in a single month. Just like vitamin D, the pill can be very dangerous when taken in excess, and you should always follow the advice on the packaging when it comes to dosage.

Read more:

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Sources used:

LadBible: Grim consequences man suffered after taking 1,176 ibuprofen tablets in a month

NHS Inform: Ibuprofen

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