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The effects of topical ibuprofen in an inflammatory model : delayed onset muscle soreness Mack, Rana L.


The purpose of this study was two fold: 1) to determine the effectiveness of topical ibuprofen versus oral ibuprofen and a placebo in the treatment of an inflammatory condition, delayed onset muscle soreness and 2) to determine the ibuprofen plasma concentrations following topical administration as compared to orally. Thirty female subjects were randomly assigned to either an oral ibuprofen treatment group, a topical ibuprofen treatment group, or a placebo group. The subjects then underwent an eccentric exercise protocol used to induce delayed onset muscle soreness. Muscle soreness and eccentric torque were quantified before exercise, immediately post exercise, at 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, and 144 hours after the exercise. All groups displayed peak soreness at 48 hours, the placebo group marked the highest average (60.95mm), the oral group had an average of 54.55mm while the topical group had the lowest average at 50.35mm. There was a marked drop in eccentric torque following the exercise which then returned to baseline values at 72 hours. No significant difference was found between groups for either measure. This data indicates that neither oral nor topical ibuprofen were effective in relieving pain or in restoring strength in this model of inflammation, DOMS. However, a significant difference in plasma ibuprofen concentrations between type of drug administration was found (p=0.033). To determine plasma concentrations a five subject cross-over design was used. Subjects participated in the eccentric exercise bout with either their right or left arm. Seven days of treatment with either oral or topical ibuprofen was then initiated. A seven day washout period followed. The exercise protocol was repeated using the other arm and subsequent treatment with the alternative ibuprofen. During both treatment periods four blood samples were taken: prior to the onset of treatment, on day 3, day 5, and day 7of treatment. The fact that minimal amounts of ibuprofen enter the systemic system after topical administration leads researchers to believe associated side effects would be decreased drastically. Research should continue into the efficacy of topical ibuprofen in various other models of inflammation.

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