Allergy to Ibuprofen

Updated on July 06, 2011
C.M. asks from Harpers Ferry, WV
8 answers

Last week I had to give my daughter who is 6 some ibuprofen. I do not give any meds to my kids unless it's needed. I have given this to her maybe 4 times in her whole 6 years. The next morning she woke up with swollen lips and cheeks. I took her to the dr. and they said they aren't sure if it's an allergy to ibuprofen or a filler that's in it and so now we have an appointment with an allergist next week to find out what it is exactally. She has never had any kind of allergies, but my son does have severe allergies to medications and even some vax's (yes it's an allergy, just not a bad reaction to some, dr. confirmed). So, I gave her some benadryl like the dr said. Now today 1 week later, she broke out in SEVERE hives all over her back. I mean HUGE welts, swollen, itchy, painful. It looked terrible. I gave her benadryl again and it seemed to get a little better before she went to bed. Now, my question, could the ibuprofen still be in her system a week later? I haven't given her anything new to eat, no new products or anything. I don't use any bad chemicals when I clean too. I was asking my mom this and she looked it up (she is certified in homeopathic - can't think of the exact name for it right now) and she said that it says ibuprofen can cause allergic reactions for up to 3 weeks. So, I guess it could still be from that. Has anyone else had this happen before? What was your experience? How long did the reaction last? I really can't wait to see the allergist now because I am really curious about this and I want to make sure I avoid anything that could cause a reaction now.

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So What Happened?

hmm, well yesterday she ate a banana, watermelon, peas, cheese, milk, chicken, green beans, PB&J, and I really can't think of anything else that would possible cause a reaction. I know allergies can form later, that's what happened to my son with his allergies. I do believe that there could still be a slight chance of the med still in her system. She has been saying that she is itchy, but she didn't break out like this before. She is fine now this morning, thankfully. She has already had chicken pox twice, and this was def. not chicken pox. These were HUGE swollen blotches all over her back. I wish I could upload a picture here to show you. I mean, they were bigger than what I expect regular hives to look like. I would say, almost golf ball in width size and red all around them. It was pretty awful looking. But, I did take a picture and I will show her allergist on Monday when we go in for her appointment. We did just have allergy testing on her about a year ago because she was having some stomach pain for about 3 months long. nothing came up positive. But, we were living in CA at that time. We just moved here to VA in January, so I know everything is different here, so new allergies could develope.

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answers from Chicago on

I am thinking there is a second culprit/cause. My niece is allergic to ibuprofen- her reactions were definitely within the dosing period though the rash did LAST for a while....but nothing like a new symptom long after the med would have been metabolized. good luck!

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answers from Medford on

My dad developed an allergy to ibuprofin when he was in his late early 40s. it just happened all of a sudden with one dose. His face and arms swelled up and he had to go the the ER. It can happen any time at any age just out of the blue... I would definitely keep it away from her.

Especially with hives they can last 1 week or more. As the medication cycles through your body new breakouts happen. Then the hives can take a while to fester through and breakout. The ibuprofin most likely has left her system, but the hives are still working their rath on her. That happens to me when I get hives from injesting something bad too.

Poor girl. :(

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm not sure this is exactly the same, but I thought I'd throw it out there in case it's somehow helpful. Over the winter, my daughter was sick with a stomach bug of some kind. Not very severe, but a stomach virus nonetheless. Shortly after that, she started breaking out in hives. I learned that, apparently, viruses can cause hives. She was on Zyrtec for 2-3 months before the hives completely cleared up. I made the mistake of stopping the Zyrtec after a couple of weeks, thinking she'd probably be fine, and within several days to a week (don't remember exactly how long), the hives started popping up again. Apparently, the hives were just an immune system reaction to the virus. She's perfectly normal now.

Anyway, I don't think it's exactly your situation, but just a thought that our bodies do very unexpected things in reaction to meds or illness, so it may be trickier than you think to pin down the exact cause. I hope your allergist appointment nets some results. What a frustrating experience!



answers from Oklahoma City on

I have breathing issues with Ibuprofen and after 8 hours it cannot cause a reaction such as allergies.

A person can develop an allergy to ANY substance at any given time. It does not have to be at the first time they experience it.

Side effects are not allergies, as you said, I cannot take Tylenol in pill form due to it having different side effects, however I can take the adult liquid any time. A side effect is MUCH MUCH different than an allergic reaction.

I have developed many new allergies as an adult. I am now allergic to almonds after eating them all my life. I am allergic to 74 out of 80 allergens tested by the allergist.

This child is having an allergic reaction to something in their environment. You'll have to have an open mind and start eliminating things until you figure it out.


answers from Topeka on

No, the meds can not stay in your system that long. Her body would have gotten rid of any excess by now through waste. This is something totally different, perhaps chicken pox, flea bites, chiggers, change in soap or detergent, allergic reaction to sunscreen or bug spray. Maybe you should take her back to the doctor to make sure she isn't getting sick or at least call the clinic where she normally goes for advice.


answers from Spokane on

This is just my personal opinion that if the ibuprofen was still in her system that the hives wouldn't just suddenly show up again a week later. If the ibuprofen was still in her system she would continue to have the hives unless you have given her a dose of benadryl but as soon as that wore off the hives should come back if the Ibuprofen was still in her system. With that said it is possible that she has developed a new allergy to something that she wasn't previous allergic to. That is what happened to me recently about 6 months ago periodically I would suddenly start itching but wasn't able to pinpoint the culprit. I finally went in for an allergy blood test and found out that I am now allergic to milk something I had never had an allergic reaction to until 6 months ago.


answers from Columbus on

Allergies are such a mystery!! I have worked for two different allergists, and we've seen some strange things. It could be almost anything. It could also be a cross reaction between two seemingly non-related things. We had a patient break out in hives from eye drops and a neosporin product- cross reaction. You may be able to eliminate certain things and figure out a culprit, but the allergist will be able to help you out in narrowing things down. Typically, but not always, a food allergy will start at the point of entry, so if it's something she ate, her lips/face would swell first.

I would also be sceptical that brand new hives would show up on the back from the ibuprofen reaction. But, like I said, you can never say never with allergies!! I doesn't matter if you have used things before, they cause a reaction after at least one exposure. So, when people say they've eaten shellfish for years.....well, the allergy will show up AFTER they've eaten shellfish, not the first time.

Personally, we've had our own craziness - my daughter reacted to an antibiotic eye drop after treatment for pink eye. The pediatrician said it was HIGHLY unlikely her hives were from the eye drop. I asked my allergist and he said it sure could. It's not common, but possible. When my oldest was a toddler, he would break out in hives for no reason, on top of his allergy to dogs. I requested an epipen for my own reassurance. NEver had to use it, and he outgrew all of the allergies and idiopathic urticaria, but I was happy to know that if he had a bad reaction, I would be prepared.

Also a word of warning- the last round of hives may not have a obvious source. Sometimes, especially in children, hives just come for no apparent reason. The allergist can test for all the inhalants, foods, etc and there may not be an answer. This happens frequently, too. There are a couple ways to test (skin testing and RAST tests) RAST tests aren't as reliable as the old-fashioned skin testing, but for kids- an alternative.

Good luck at the allergist - I hope y'all can find a cause.



answers from Washington DC on

I just read your "What Happened". On your list of foods, there are foods that are common allergens. Those would be -dairy and nuts. If you had your son skin tested for allergies, that is very unreliable. Blood testing is the most reliable.
On the holistic side, you mentioned your mom is a certified homeopath. I'm surprised she didn't suggest Urtica Urens for the hives. Easy to find @ Whole Foods.
Yes the ibuprofen can stay in the system for longer than a week. And other items can aggravate the immune system causing a response.
There are plenty of naturpaths and homeopaths in your area. I'd suggest consulting someone with those skills.

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