Nurofen 5% Gel - 35g
How does Nurofen Gel work?
Nurofen gel and Nurofen maximum strength gel both contain the active ingredient ibuprofen, which is a type of medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ibuprofen is a simple painkilling medicine used to relieve mild to moderate pain and inflammation. (NB. Nurofen maximum strength gel contains a stronger concentration of ibuprofen than Nurofen gel and so can only be bought from pharmacies.)
Ibuprofen works by blocking the action of a substance in the body called cyclo-oxygenase (COX). Cyclo-oxygenase is involved in the production of various chemicals in the body, some of which are known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced in response to injury and certain diseases and conditions, and cause pain, swelling and inflammation. Ibuprofen blocks the production of these prostaglandins and is therefore effective at reducing inflammation and pain.
When ibuprofen is applied to the skin (topical application) it is absorbed through the skin into the underlying tissues, where it reduces pain and inflammation in the local area.
Nurofen muscular pain relief gel and Nurofen gel maximum strength can be used to relieve the pain of muscular and joint conditions such as sprains, strains, backache and rheumatism. They should be massaged gently into the affected area.
Ibuprofen is absorbed less into the bloodstream from preparations that are applied to the skin than from preparations that are taken by mouth (see end of factsheet), however absorption can still occur, particularly if large amounts are used on large areas.
What is Nurofen gel used for?
Nurofen gel can be used for the following conditions:
- muscle pain
- rheumatic pain
- sprains, strains and sports injuries.
The stronger Nurofen maximum strength gel can be used for the conditions listed above, as well as the following:
- severe throbbing or stabbing pain along a nerve and in the area supplied by the nerve (neuralgia)
- pain from non-serious arthritic conditions.
- This medicine is for external use only.
- Do not apply to broken skin. Avoid contact with the eyes and the moist membranes lining the inside of certain parts of the body, eg mouth, nasal passages (mucous membranes). Rinse with cold water if accidental contact occurs.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying this medicine, unless the hands are the area being treated.
- You should not cover the area being treated with airtight dressings, as these will enhance the absorption of the medicine into the body and may increase the risk of side effects.
- This medicine should not be used for longer than a few weeks unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
- Seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist if your symptoms persist or worsen despite treatment.
- If you experience any side effects from this medicine, in particular a rash, stop using it and seek medical advice.
Use with caution in
- Active peptic ulcer.
- History of kidney disease.
- Intolerance to aspirin, ibuprofen or other related painkillers (NSAIDs) taken by mouth.
Not to be used in
- Broken, damaged, infected or diseased skin.
- People in whom aspirin or other medicines in this class (NSAIDs), cause attacks of asthma, itchy rash (urticaria) or nasal inflammation (rhinitis).
- Nurofen gel and Nurofen maximum strength gel are not recommended for children under 14 years of age unless instructed by a doctor.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine should not be used in pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor, as sufficient may be absorbed to affect the baby. When used in the third trimester ibuprofen may delay labour, increase the length of labour and cause complications in the newborn baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
- Ibuprofen taken by mouth passes into breast milk in such small quantities that it is unlikely to harm the baby, hence topical ibuprofen is also unlikely to be harmful. However, as with all medicines, seek medical advice from your doctor before using this medicine while breastfeeding.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Skin rashes.
- Abdominal pain.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Allergic reactions such as asthma, narrowing of the airways (bronchospasm), swelling of the lips, throat and tongue (angioedema), itchy blistering rash or anaphylactic shock.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can Nurofen 5% Gel affect other medicines?
When it is used on unbroken skin this medicine is unlikely to be absorbed in sufficient amounts to affect other medicines that are being taken by mouth. However, if it is used with aspirin or other NSAIDs, eg ibuprofen taken by mouth, there may be an increased chance of side effects.
For more information about the interactions of ibuprofen taken by mouth see the factsheets linked below.