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Old 10-02-2003, 12:41 AM
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Ibuprofen as a sleep aid? WTF!


I've been married to this beautiful, but crazy [ethnicity deleted] woman for over 23 years. So inferring that she's out of her mind will only be met with agreement.

When my wife can't get to sleep she takes an Ibuprofen tablet. She insists that it makes her drowsy. She insists that regular Nuprin tablets
[REGULAR Nuprin, WITHOUT a sleep aid] makes her very, very drowsy.
Sure as shit, when she takes 1 regular, over the counter Ibuprofen tablet, she zonks right off. This isn't included in the "side effects" list. why does this happen to her? Is this an unlisted side effect, or (as I suspect) her belief that it does this having a placebo effect?
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:49 AM
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I'd guess a placebo effect, since plain ibuprofen is strictly an anagesic. I've taken plenty of Advil with not drowsiness whatsoever. It's all in her head.
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Old 10-02-2003, 12:50 AM
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Well, which side effects list are you looking at?

http://www.greatpills.com/order-ibuprofen
Quote:
Possible side effects
SIDE EFFECTS, that may go away during treatment, include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, constipation, indigestion, dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, or headache. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor.
http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/ibupr...e_effectsc.htm
Quote:
Rare Side Effects
skin irritations, drowsiness, gastrointestinal bleeding
http://www.e-mds.com/healthinfo_view/drug/i_0000000QJD/
Quote:
Common Side Effects:
May occur during the first few days after beginning therapy, but usually resolve:

Upset stomach symptoms, abdominal pain, nausea, indigestion, bloating, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, or photosensitivity
[shakes finger reprovingly at PK]
See? You should listen to the Missus...
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Old 10-02-2003, 02:03 AM
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My boyfriend gets drowsy on non-narcotic painkillers, including ibuprofen. But he's just all kinds of messed up. I think if he has onions, tylenol, and MSG together he explodes or something
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Old 10-02-2003, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Duck Duck Goose
[shakes finger reprovingly at PK]
See? You should listen to the Missus...

Yeah, but this stuff knocks her out like it's a barb..
I've taken it for headaches and shit for the last decade and never got sleepy off it. 30 minutes after taking it with a cup of leaded coffee and she's out like a light. I mean OUT!
I can't wake her up for anything. She only takes 1 for crying out loud. And we're not talking about the "P.M." version. I mean the regular stuff. One 200mg tablet. it can't be hitting her that hard, can it? You know, once she gets something into her thick blonde head she believes it forever, so I'm thinking she thinks it's suppose to make her sleepy, which is why it does. Placebo effect.
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Old 10-02-2003, 03:03 AM
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Some people are VERY sensitive. Mainly they can have an underlying pain issue and when they take it the pain goes away and they relax.

It is similar to a reverse Valium effect. For example I used to be a VERY, VERY, VERY nervous flyer. If I took one 2.5mg of Valium during a flight it knocks me out. But if I am not nervous at all 2.5mg of Valium has minimal effect on me. Now that I am no longer a nervous flyer 2.5mg has minimal effect.

The more nervous you are the more it relaxes you. This isn't an uncommon thing. I know of two other people (both women) that relax like they've taken a tranquilizer when they take ibuprofen.
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Old 10-02-2003, 03:59 AM
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I get a little sleepy if I take a lot of Ibuprofen, like 3 or more extra-strength pills. Considering how drugs effect people differently, it's not unusual at all that someone might find just one to be a sleep aid.
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Old 10-02-2003, 05:16 AM
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some people are more sensitive than others. Small children for instance can get knocked out by paracetamol, useful on long flights (along with fennigan)
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:05 PM
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im 52 and have manic depression and various anxieties. I have noticed that while advil does not make me sleepy it DOES make my sleep deep and uninterrupted. I have had insomnia since I was a child (about 4) I have tried all forms of meditation, relaxation, sleep resetting, no blue light, no light, light theropy, etc etc etc. sleeping pills no longer work. most relaxation meds have little to no effect on me but for some reason advil puts me in a deep sleep every time. I don't use it every night as I don't want to become dependant on them. my doc says it cant work but it does every time. I was hoping someone could explain to me why it works lol. I guess not.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Placebo effect.
We actually know surprisingly little about the mechanisms of the placebo effect, but one of the things we do know is that it's the brain producing an effect it expects. I find it unlikely that would continue past the point at which she's no longer conscious -- the fact that you have difficulty waking her would imply a mechanism more than mere placebo.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:41 PM
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Did we ever figure this out (this thread is from 2003)?
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:15 PM
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What is the affect of ibuprofen on zombies which need to sleep?
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:57 PM
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Brainzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:08 AM
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Almost 15 years later but it has the same effect on her. She’ll take 2 of them prior to a long plane flight and sleep the entire trip.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:29 AM
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Almost 15 years later but it has the same effect on her. She’ll take 2 of them prior to a long plane flight and sleep the entire trip.
Placebo or not, that sounds wonderful.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:09 PM
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Placebo or not, that sounds wonderful.
Except if she wants to take it for a headache or other pains she ends up having to take a nap and half her day is shot.
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:29 PM
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Except if she wants to take it for a headache or other pains she ends up having to take a nap and half her day is shot.
I just assumed she would take a different pain killer for that. But if ibuprofen is all she responds to, then, yes, I could see the disadvantage of that.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-18-2018 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:14 PM
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Except if she wants to take it for a headache or other pains she ends up having to take a nap and half her day is shot.
Give her an Advil for the headache instead of Nuprin!

(just don't tell her they're the same thing!).

Re taking one before a flight: I wonder if that mightn't be a good idea anyway, what with DVT (deep vein thromboses) being a known issue with long flights. Anyone know if aspirin is recommended for such a use?

How does your spouse react to Tylenol, or any of the NSAIDs other than ibuprofen? Does sleep occur?
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:45 PM
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Ibuprofen doesn't knock me out particularly, but after a few days of taking one a night I start to have the most incredible vivid dreams!
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Old 10-24-2019, 01:03 PM
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It's probably not a placebo. I just had this experience. I took Ibuprofen at night and I had the most efficient sleep in years which I was not expecting. I wish it didn't have long term side effects.
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Old 10-24-2019, 01:45 PM
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Nothing in your post rules out the placebo effect. Why do you think it’s not the placebo effect?
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Old 10-24-2019, 01:49 PM
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Some people are VERY sensitive. Mainly they can have an underlying pain issue and when they take it the pain goes away and they relax.
This is a possibility.

My late spouse had chronic pain issues. Any sort of pain reliever worked to help him drop off to sleep - not because it was sleep inducing, but less pain meant more able to sleep.

Or maybe it is just placebo effect - but hey, that means she has a GREAT, non-narcotic, non-benzodiazepine sleep aid with minimal side effects! Yes, I'm serious. As long as she's not taking any then attempting to drive or operate heavy machinery I don't see a problem here.
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Old 10-24-2019, 01:52 PM
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We actually know surprisingly little about the mechanisms of the placebo effect, but one of the things we do know is that it's the brain producing an effect it expects. I find it unlikely that would continue past the point at which she's no longer conscious -- the fact that you have difficulty waking her would imply a mechanism more than mere placebo.
Why wouldn't it work when she's a asleep? Your brain works even when it's asleep, during REM sleep it works pretty hard, actually.

That's different than, say, being knocked out by an anesthesiologist.

But during normal sleep your brain isn't shut down, just working in a different mode.
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Old 10-24-2019, 01:53 PM
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The IBs don't knock me out. But, I can get a great, long sleep.
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:49 PM
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So now that's out of the way, how does Ibuprofen work on zombie brains?
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Old 10-24-2019, 04:52 PM
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Nothing in your post rules out the placebo effect. Why do you think it’s not the placebo effect?
The fact that I did not expect it to make me sleep better. I just took the pill to calm my toothache.
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Old 10-24-2019, 04:59 PM
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I have used ibuprofen as a sleep aid. When my knee doesn't ache as much I can get to sleep easier.

The placebo effect is a possibility, but it may simply be a Pavlovian type response, anticipating she fall asleep soon and being more relaxed as a result, which is similar but not exactly the same as the placebo effect. We'd have to know if the ibuprofen is providing some other physical benefit.

Last edited by TriPolar; 10-24-2019 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:39 PM
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Ibuprofen doesn't knock me out particularly, but after a few days of taking one a night I start to have the most incredible vivid dreams!
Ibuprofen is, loosely speaking, a cannaboid. It gives some people something that can be loosely described as "hallucinations".

A common beneficial affect that NSAIDs have on the endocannabinoid system is that they calm you down. Kid has an earache and is screaming? Give them a Tylenol. That will give you a bit of a break....
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Old 10-24-2019, 09:44 PM
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yeah, 3 or 4 Advil far enough apart will knock my aunt out all night ....
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:07 PM
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So now that's out of the way, how does Ibuprofen work on zombie brains?
I love that this thread was resurrected by stillAlive...
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:35 PM
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My wife uses Advil to help her sleep. I’ve tried to explain to her why it doesn’t work but apparently it does. She drops right off.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:06 PM
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The fact that I did not expect it to make me sleep better. I just took the pill to calm my toothache.
Yeah...again, none of that rules out the placebo effect. Expectations are certainly important, but not necessarily in the way one might think.

As several others have pointed out, relieved pain makes it easier to sleep, so some people will fall asleep when they take ibuprofen, but not because they took ibuprofen. This is a great example of what people mean when they say “correlation does not imply causation.”

A toothache seems like a prime candidate for the kind of pain that keeps one up; conversely, removing that pain might be what let you sleep even if you weren’t conscious of your own sleep deprivation.

Also, some people have strong preconceived notions about “drugs.” I take Ritalin to control my ADD symptoms, and I’ve often heard parents say they’re reluctant to put their kid on Ritalin or Adderall because they “don’t want their kid to turn into a zombie.”

I find this hilarious—clearly, nearly everyone who expresses this concern has never taken amphetamines. (Adderall is a mixture of levo- and dextroamphetamine. Ritalin is pharmacologically quite similar to amphetamines).

Lots of naive people—amphetamine-naive and just plain naive—believe that drugs put you to sleep, full stop. And lots of people who have experienced unusual symptoms while taking a given medication believe very strongly that they’ve established causality without any sense that causality is very, very difficult to establish in a rigorous way.

For example, how many parents believe that giving kids sugar tends to make the kids hyperactive? Lots! And yet, this is just a myth.

That’s not to say that ibuprofen can’t make people sleepy. But feeling sleepy after taking ibuprofen doesn’t rule out the placebo effect, regardless of your expectations prior to taking it.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:14 PM
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I don’t have a cite for this, but it’s worth keeping in mind that perceptions of drug effects can be strongly influenced by culture.

A medical anthropologist friend of mine once mentioned that while Americans and many others think of marijuana as a relaxing, mellowing drug, some cultures (South American ones? I forget) perceive it to be energizing.

Drug effects are complicated and depend on a large number of unrelated factors, some of them very squishy. The signal-to-noise ratio is terrible. This is one reason why it’s hard to reproduce results. The same reason makes it really hard to rule out the placebo effect.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:15 PM
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Duplicate post - NM

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Old 10-25-2019, 11:18 PM
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Even a baby aspirin will help me if I'm having a jumpy leg or any cramping. It's just enough of a relaxer to let me get to sleep.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:59 PM
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I have used ibuprofen as a sleep aid. When my knee doesn't ache as much I can get to sleep easier.

The placebo effect is a possibility, but it may simply be a Pavlovian type response, anticipating she fall asleep soon and being more relaxed as a result, which is similar but not exactly the same as the placebo effect. We'd have to know if the ibuprofen is providing some other physical benefit.
There's also the possibility that you know you've got pain relief on board, and that knowledge in and of itself can be relaxing.

Typo Knig once found that narcotics were VERY helpful in relieving pain - without even opening the bottle Seriously: he'd just had a root canal and it's semi-routine to prescribe a few Vicodin or similar to use if needed for a day or two. He swears he felt better just knowing he had them if he needed them (he never actually took any).
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:43 AM
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In the interest of posting completely non-controlled, zero-blind study "data" ...

Due to this thread I tried the night before last taking an ibuprofen at bed time. Had a terrible night. Wide awake before 4 and couldn't go back to sleep.

So, that's one "No" vote for it being a sleep aid.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:07 AM
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There's also the possibility that you know you've got pain relief on board, and that knowledge in and of itself can be relaxing.

Typo Knig once found that narcotics were VERY helpful in relieving pain - without even opening the bottle Seriously: he'd just had a root canal and it's semi-routine to prescribe a few Vicodin or similar to use if needed for a day or two. He swears he felt better just knowing he had them if he needed them (he never actually took any).
That is very much like the placebo effect, which contrary to many statements on the subject is not about sugar pills. It is already well understood that the placebo effect is closely tied to ritual, just seeing a doctor helps some people, sometimes just making an appointment to see a doctor works also.

The case of taking ibuprofen is a bit different though, ibuprofen does physically affect people. If if that effect is not directly related to sleeping it is still different from the placebo effect because it requires some actual physical reaction to the medication.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:54 AM
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It'd be difficult to find a drug that doesn't have a reported side effect of drowsiness in some people.

For instance, both Ritalin and Adderall (both stimulants) may cause drowsiness (especially odd in the case of Adderall, which is a combination of amphetamines).

Primates are weird.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:56 AM
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My experience is that pain relief is often in and of itself relaxing. When I have pain, I'm all tensed up, and when the pain leaves, even if I didn't take anything, that tension relaxes. And tension is a big thing that can make it hard to sleep.

I've also seen studies that even basic analgesics can work as mild antidepressants. And anything that can help with depression can also help with sleep, as depression often causes insomnia.

Last edited by BigT; 10-26-2019 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:39 PM
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It'd be difficult to find a drug that doesn't have a reported side effect of drowsiness in some people.
That’s true. And I strongly suspect that’s partly because many people expect all drugs to make them drowsy. The FDA requires pharma companies conducting trials to report any serious adverse event that could plausibly have been caused by the drug in question. That’s a very low bar, even if a low bar is appropriate in this context.

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For instance, both Ritalin and Adderall (both stimulants) may cause drowsiness (especially odd in the case of Adderall, which is a combination of amphetamines).
If it’s odd for Adderall, it’s odd for Ritalin too. Again, these are very similar drugs on several levels. They’re both norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) and their effects are very similar. They’re both used on-label for narcolepsy as well as ADHD.

But isn’t this a paradox? Two drugs used to inhibit sleep might also induce it. How could it be both?

Well, many people “crash” once either drug wears off, feeling unusually fatigued and sleepy perhaps 6-8 hours after their last dose. So drowsiness is a common effect of both Ritalin and Adderall; it just comes after hours of perkiness. But drowsiness without preceding perkiness is quite rare, AFAIK.

If you just read a list of possible side effects, you won’t know that drowsiness is very unlikely until after 4-6 hours of pharmaceutical-grade perkiness. If you expect immediate sleepiness, though, your brain is more than capable of accommodating that expectation for a while.

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Primates are weird.
Most are, especially the human ones. But as Jane Goodall famously observed, lemurs are effing basic.

Human beings are terrible data-acquisition devices—much worse than most assume. Eyewitnesses to crimes routinely get major details wrong. We suck at evaluating risk, routinely mitigating unlikely, short-term risks while ignoring much likelier, much riskier long-term issues. Implicit bias is omnipresent even if we guard against it.

Happily, human beings also invented the scientific method. While it can help address those failings, it’s really hard to apply the scientific method well. Even then, proving causation is extraordinarily rare. Drug trials are harder still because of the ethical constraints that human subjects require. Side-effects lists involve much less certainty than many assume.

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 10-26-2019 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:40 PM
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Ibuprofen definitely puts me to sleep. Tylenol works, too...just not as well or as long as Ibuprofen.

Last edited by Mind's Eye, Watering; 10-26-2019 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:56 PM
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Not to discount the placebo affect, but NSAIDs are known to have an effect on the endocannabinoid system. It's not all in your mind: some of it is in your brain.
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Old 10-29-2019, 03:20 AM
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O.K. I'm an ICU nurse, so I kinda know what I'm talking about... but I've never really heard of this before so I'm also wildly pulling this out of my own ass. Maybe just half out of my ass. In short, this is a wild half ass educated guess. Don't take it with a grain of salt, go find a stable and steal a salt lick from a horse and then take it with that. That's how little confidence I have in my idea.
.
It's an NSAID, the whole reason it works is because it reduces inflammation (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug). So, hmm, maybe the anti-inflamation is reducing her blood pressure and that's what's making her sleepy? It's not really known to do that, (hell, normally it INCREASES blood pressure) but it's sorta conceivable. You reduce inflammation on the muscles surrounding the blood vessels and the blood pressure drops. Probably not likely, but hey, strange things happen in medicine. I'd be curious to know if her blood pressure drops after she takes it. Again, not likely, but maybe. It's possible that this is a paradoxical effect.
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Old 10-29-2019, 03:33 AM
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More likely, and also far simpler is simply general anti inflamatory, pain control stuff. Somebody may have low grade chronic pain, but so low grade they just live with it and don't even notice any more. You relieve that, they are relaxed more than their baseline, and they are out like a light.
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:06 PM
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1. There is a big psychological component to good sleep. Having daily habits and rituals is helpful. I would guess it is largely a placebo effect. But don’t knock the placebo effect, doctors should probably use it more.

2. It might help prevent aches and pains if she exercises a lot or has other issues. This is the only way I can see it lowering blood pressure, which should drop with rest and reclining anyway.

3. NSAIDs may help with depression; so perhaps have some effect on mood or other neurological effects. Many drugs can cause sleepiness.
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:10 PM
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Pain keeps you awake, and Ibuprofen alleviates pain so, indirectly, it can act as a sleep aide.

On the other hand, placebos have proven time and again that even if we only THINK something works, that can be enough to produce the desired effect.
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:16 PM
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Pain keeps you awake, and Ibuprofen alleviates pain so, indirectly, it can act as a sleep aide.

On the other hand, placebos have proven time and again that even if we only THINK something works, that can be enough to produce the desired effect.
Sure, but it's not a placebo if the ibuprofen or other drug has some beneficial effect. A placebo might work as well, but there is an actual effect from the pain reliever so that any placebo effect may not be strong enough without it. I do wonder how well placebos work for sleep disorders that have a physical basis.
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Old 10-29-2019, 02:44 PM
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Sure, but it's not a placebo if the ibuprofen or other drug has some beneficial effect.
By definition, the placebo effect produces some effects. The drug itself produces its own effects.

So you’ve got a mixed bag of effects, some psychosomatic and some pharmacological. How do figure out which cause produced which effect?

If you know, please pipe up—or at least give The SDMB a shout-out when you accept the Nobel prize for medicine.
  #50  
Old 10-29-2019, 03:02 PM
TriPolar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
By definition, the placebo effect produces some effects. The drug itself produces its own effects.

So you’ve got a mixed bag of effects, some psychosomatic and some pharmacological. How do figure out which cause produced which effect?

If you know, please pipe up—or at least give The SDMB a shout-out when you accept the Nobel prize for medicine.
Non-placebo have a direct physical effect that often can be tested subjectively. The only way to be sure that a pill is producing the placebo effect is if the pill has no ingredients that cause any direct measurable physical effect. Otherwise the question can't be answered for sure, but testing generally shows greatly different results from placebos and real medications. The more difficult part to determine is how the placebo effect manifests without any sugar pills. There is a lot of info out there on the role of ritual and the placebo effect, just google it to find out more. And the more it's investigated the deeper the mystery runs.

But my point remains, if ibuprofen alleviates pain and discomfort then it could be a sleep aid without any placebo effect. Trying to untangle this without testing that specifically is difficult. Double blind testing of ibuprofen with placebos included may have produced reports of test subjects sleeping better, and more so when they don't have the placebo, but those results may not have been significant enough to market ibuprofen as a sleep aid, or even to determine if those results were skewed by any placebo effect.
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