How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Flurbiprofen belongs to the group of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is used to relieve mild to moderately severe pain accompanied by inflammation. It can be used to relieve pain in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. It can also help relieve pain associated with menstrual cramps and mild-to-moderate pain accompanied by inflammation (e.g., tendinitis, bursitis).

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Apo-Flurbiprofen is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under flurbiprofen. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of flurbiprofen ranges from 200 mg to 300 mg daily divided into 4 to 6 doses. Flurbiprofen should be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time period in order to minimize the risk of side effects.

Flurbiprofen should be taken with food or milk. You should remain sitting upright or standing for 15-30 minutes after taking this medication to reduce the risk of irritating the esophagus.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Flurbiprofen should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic or has a suspected allergy to flurbiprofen or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is breast-feeding
  • is currently taking other NSAIDs
  • is in the third trimester of pregnancy (after 28 weeks)
  • is planning to have or recently had heart bypass surgery
  • is under 18 years of age
  • has bleeding in the brain or a bleeding disorder
  • has an active stomach or intestinal ulcer or active gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) bleeding or a history of recurrent ulcers
  • has a history of hives, asthma, or an allergic reaction to ASA or other anti-inflammatory medications
  • has high levels of potassium in the blood
  • has inflammatory bowel disease
  • has severe uncontrolled heart failure
  • has severely impaired or deteriorating kidney function
  • has significant liver impairment or liver disease

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • diarrhea or constipation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • flatulence (gas)
  • flu-like symptoms
  • fluid retention
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • mouth sores
  • nausea or vomiting
  • runny nose
  • sensation of feeling full
  • sensitivity to sunlight

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • anxiety
  • burning, tingling, or prickling feeling
  • confusion or mood changes
  • difficulty concentrating
  • digestive system problems (e.g., vomiting, ongoing indigestion, nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea)
  • ringing in the ears
  • fainting
  • hearing problems
  • heartbeat that is irregular, racing, or pounding
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased frequency of infections (e.g., symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
  • signs of clotting problems (e.g., unusual nosebleeds, bruising, blood in urine, coughing blood, bleeding gums, cuts that don't stop bleeding)
  • signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
  • memory problems
  • signs of kidney problems (e.g., increased urination at night, decreased urine production, blood in the urine)
  • skin rash
  • spinning sensation
  • swelling of the legs or feet or weight gain
  • symptoms of heart failure (e.g., shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness, fatigue, cough, fluid retention, swelling in the ankles and legs)
  • symptoms of a urinary tract infection (pain or a burning sensation when urinating, frequent urination, pain in the back or sides, or blood in the urine)
  • symptoms of anemia (paleness, fatigue, or weakness)
  • symptoms of liver damage (yellow skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, or itching)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a heart attack (e.g., pain or discomfort in the chest, neck, jaw, back, or stomach; shortness of breath; sweating; nausea; or lightheadedness)
  • signs of meningitis not caused by infection (e.g., headache [severe], throbbing, or with stiff neck or back)
  • signs of stroke (e.g., sudden or severe headache; sudden loss of coordination; vision changes; sudden slurring of speech; or unexplained weakness, numbness, or pain in arm or leg)
  • symptoms of a bleeding ulcer (black tarry stools, blood in the stools, vomiting up of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
  • symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, tongue, or throat)
  • symptoms of a severe skin rash (blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort)
  • unusual or persistent bleeding or bruising
  • vision changes or blurred vision

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.


June 8, 2021

Health Canada has issued new information concerning the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at

A previous advisory on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was issued on October 30, 2020.

Allergic reactions: If you have had a reaction to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or other NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, ketoprofen, ketorolac) that included a runny nose, itchy skin rash, nasal polyps, or shortness of breath and wheezing, you should not take this medication. If you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; wheezing; swelling of the face, tongue, or throat), get immediate medical attention.

Aseptic meningitis: This medication can rarely cause symptoms of aseptic meningitis (inflammation or swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord that is not caused by bacteria). If you have an autoimmune condition (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, mixed connective tissue disease), you are more at risk for developing this. If you experience symptoms such as stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, or changes in consciousness, stop taking this medication and get immediate medical attention.

Bladder problems: This medication may cause bladder pain, painful or difficult urination, or increased frequency of urination. If these symptoms occur without an explanation (e.g., infection), stop taking this medication and contact your doctor.

Blood clotting: This medication may reduce the ability of the blood to clot. If you are taking anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin, heparin) or have hemophilia or another blood disorder (e.g., low platelets), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you have a bleeding disorder, do not take this medication.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, and mental confusion have been reported by some people taking this medication. Do not drive vehicles or perform other potentially hazardous activities until you have determined that this medication does not affect you in this way.

Fluid and electrolyte balance: NSAIDs such as flurbiprofen can cause fluid retention and edema (swelling). This can lead to high blood pressure or worsening of heart failure. If you have heart failure or high blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you have severe, uncontrolled heart failure, you should not take this medication.

Flurbiprofen may also cause high blood potassium levels. If you are a senior; have diabetes or kidney failure; or are taking beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol, atenolol), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril, enalapril), or some diuretics (e.g., triamterene, amiloride), you are more at risk of high blood potassium. If you have high blood potassium levels, you should not take this medication.

Heart attack and stroke: Like other NSAID medications, flurbiprofen may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The risk is greater with higher doses and long-term use. People at risk of heart problems, such as those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, heart failure, or coronary artery disease, should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Kidney disease: Like other NSAIDs, flurbiprofen is not recommended for people with advanced kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

If you experience signs of kidney problems, such as blood in your urine or decreased urine production, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Liver function: Flurbiprofen may worsen liver disease. If you have liver disease or severely impaired liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.

Sun sensitivity: This medication may make your skin more sensitive to the sun. While you are using this medication, avoid excessive sun exposure, including tanning beds and sun lamps. If you experience sunburn with itching, swelling, and blistering, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor.

Ulcers: Flurbiprofen may increase the risk of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. People prone to irritation of the stomach and intestines, and particularly those who have had a stomach ulcer, blood in the stools, or diverticulosis or other inflammatory disease of the stomach or intestines (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) should only take this medication if they are under close medical supervision. In such cases, the doctor must weigh the benefits of treatment against the possible risks. Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of a bleeding ulcer, such as dark tarry stools, blood in the stools, or vomiting up of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If flurbiprofen is taken during the earlier stages of pregnancy, there is an increased risk of miscarriage. Use of flurbiprofen at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy may increase the risk of kidney damage and complications due to low amniotic fluid in the developing baby. When flurbiprofen is taken during the last 3 months of pregnancy, there is an increased risk of the child developing heart problems and the mother having a longer labour to deliver the baby.

If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

This medication may reduce fertility. If you are trying to get pregnant or are having difficulty getting pregnant, you should not take this medication.

Breast-feeding: Flurbiprofen passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking flurbiprofen, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children. For this reason, flurbiprofen is not recommended for use by children.

Seniors: Seniors should be closely monitored by their doctors while they are taking this medication. They may be more prone to side effects and may require a lower dose.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between flurbiprofen and any of the following:

  • alcohol
  • aliskiren
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs; e.g., candesartan, irbesartan)
  • angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., ramipril)
  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • apixaban
  • beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol, atenolol)
  • bimatoprost
  • bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate, etidronate, pamidronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid)
  • cholestyramine
  • clopidogrel
  • colesevelam
  • colestipol
  • corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, prednisone)
  • cyclosporine
  • dabigatran
  • deferasirox
  • desmopressin
  • diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone)
  • digoxin
  • dipyridamole
  • drospirenone
  • edoxaban
  • eplerenone
  • heparin
  • herbal medications that affect blood clotting (e.g., ginkgo biloba, garlic, ginger, ginseng, glucosamine)
  • latanoprost
  • lithium
  • low molecular weight heparins (e.g., dalteparin, enoxaparin, tinzaparin)
  • mesalamine
  • metformin
  • methotrexate
  • mifepristone
  • multivitamin/mineral supplements
  • olsalazine
  • other NSAIDs (e.g., celecoxib, ketorolac, naproxen, indomethacin)
  • pentoxifylline
  • phenytoin
  • potassium supplements
  • prasugrel
  • quinolone antibiotics (e.g., levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin)
  • rivaroxaban
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., paroxetine, fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline)
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs; e.g., desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, venlafaxine)
  • sodium phosphates
  • sulfasalazine
  • sulfamethoxazole
  • sulfonylurea diabetes medications (e.g., gliclazide, glyburide)
  • tacrolimus
  • tenofovir
  • ticagrelor
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, doxepin, imipramine)
  • vaccines
  • vitamin E
  • warfarin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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