What are ibuprofen and diclofenac used for?
Ibuprofen and diclofenac are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat inflammation and pain in a variety of conditions. They are commonly used after a caesarean section to help ease the pain after the procedure. They may also be used if you have had an assisted vaginal birth or a severe perineal tear.
To begin with, we may give you diclofenac in the form of suppositories (medication that dissolves in your back passage). The suppositories contain 100mg diclofenac and are given 12 hours apart for 24 hours. If your pain is well-controlled after this, we will give you ibuprofen tablets. If your pain is not well-controlled, we may give you further doses of diclofenac suppository and possibly some to take home. You must not take any ibuprofen for at least 12 hours after your last diclofenac dose.
How to take ibuprofen and diclofenac
Swallow ibuprofen tablets whole with a glass of water. If possible, take the tablets with or after food to avoid stomach upset.
Diclofenac suppositories should be inserted into the back passage. Please follow the instructions in the patient information leaflet that comes with the suppositories.
Dosage for adults
Ibuprofen: 400mg tablet three times a day, six to eight hours apart. If you are using your own supply of ibuprofen tablets purchased from a chemist, you may have 200mg tablets. In this case, take two 200mg tablets three times a day.
Diclofenac: 100mg suppository inserted into the back passage, 12 hours apart initially for 24 hours. After this, doses should not exceed 100mg once daily or 50mg two to three times daily if continued and will be given to you either as suppositories to insert into the back passage or oral tablets.
Do not take diclofenac and ibuprofen at the same time. Wait 12 hours after a diclofenac dose before taking ibuprofen or six hours after an ibuprofen dose before taking diclofenac. If you have other medical conditions.
Check with your obstetrician, GP, midwife or pharmacist before taking ibuprofen or diclofenac if you have asthma or breathing problems, a previous stomach ulcer, a previous reaction to aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or other medical conditions, such as kidney disease, heart disease, blood clotting disorders, or liver disease
Common side effects include headache, dizziness, feeling sick, diarrhoea
You can read more about side effects in the patient information leaflet that came with your medication.
Can I take ibuprofen and diclofenac medication while I am breastfeeding?
Both ibuprofen and diclofenac are suitable while you are breastfeeding.
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical help if you:
- pass blood in your faeces (stools or poo)
- pass black tarry stools
- vomit any blood or dark particles that look like coffee grounds
- have an allergic reaction such as itching, dizziness, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, mouth and throat, which may cause shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing