How prescribed Advil made me bedridden for two months and why I’ll never take it again

“You have rheumatoid arthritis. If you take four Advil four times a day for ten days you will protect your joints from damage.” ~ my doctor at the time


Even though I knew he was wrong about the diagnosis*, my joint pain was extreme and I did want to protect my neck, feet, knees and wrists from permanent damage. As soon as I left his clinic I bought a bottle of Advil and swallowed four tablets with food. I never had an issue taking 2 Advil for migraine headaches so I was not concerned about the higher dosage. By morning I had swallowed four doses, 16 tablets, and I knew something was wrong. I was sobbing uncontrollably, but not from the pain. I was frighteningly disoriented and I cried out to Michael, “I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know who I am.” The only change I had made was taking Advil so I searched the internet for my symptoms and Advil.

My doctor never asked my if there were heart disease and strokes in my family. 

It turns out that people with a family history of heart disease should NEVER-EVER take high dose Advil or any Ibuprofen product. I/we could die of stroke or heart attack, in the first week! 

I stopped the Advil and waited the recommended 8 hours before switching to safe, high dose aspirin**.

Advil Side Effects that I experienced:

  • agitation
  • confusion
  • change in vision (my vision is still not completely restored.)
  • fever (103.9 for the better part of 6 weeks)
  • disorientation
  • mood and other mental changes
  • lab results show problem with the liver (my enzymes were so high the doctor called in a panic fearing that I had cancer)
  • impaired renal function( happens 21% of the time. My nurse practitioner thought I might end up with permanent kidney damage.)
  • anemia (happens 35% of the time)drop in hemoglobin, happens 10% of the time
  • neutrophils elevated
  • thrombocythemia, very rare but I had it
  • Extremely elevated C-Reactive Protein 255.8, normal range is 0 – 4.9. Anything above 10.0 is of great concern (not listed as a side effect. It could be 100% from ReA, but it was always in the normal range when tested and the number was so high that I suspect Advil caused most of this reading.)

I had more symptoms that were not listed in the side-effects list as you’ll see in my lab reports taken before and after one day of high dose Advil.

My message? Please don’t accept strange symptoms as normal; they can be a sign of something dangerous. Call your doctor or pharmacist, or do your own research. I honestly don’t think I would be here today if I had stayed on high dose Advil for one more day.

Thank you for reading this. I hope the information helps you or someone you know. I am interested in your experience with NSAIDS too.

*RA is largely a hormone imbalance and, as most of you know, I take very good care of my hormones. I had to do my own research to discover what my illness was, Reactive Arthritis. I also found an excellent Nurse Practitioner who did her research also and agreed with my diagnosis. I’ll write later about Reactive Arthritis for I think many people are misdiagnosed with RA who actually have ReA and are medicated improperly.
**Aspirin has been given a bad rap. For most people it is far safer than acetaminophen or other NSAIDS For over 5 months I took the recommended 12 aspirin daily, 3 per dose, with a glass of milk each time. I never had any trouble and in fact, the aspirin worked so much better than the Ibuprofen for managing the ReA pain. Advil didn’t last the full six hours; I hurt after four hours. Aspirin never wore off between doses and reduced pain better than Advil.

Be the light, share the light, see the light in others,

Jacque

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