Ibuprofen : Uses, dosing and side effects


Ibuprofen is one of a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It's widely used for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s available over the counter as tablets or capsules in doses of 200–400 mg and can be taken up to three times a day after food. Some tablets are designed to release the drug slowly over a period of time, and some people find these helpful for night-time pain relief.

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).


Higher doses of ibuprofen are available on prescription and can be used if you have rheumatoid arthritis or another type of inflammatory arthritis. If ibuprofen doesn't give enough relief from pain, or if you need pain relief over a long period of time, then you should speak to your doctor, who may be able to prescribe a stronger type of NSAID or a combination of drugs that will be more effective.





Ibuprofen can usually be used in combination with paracetamol or a compound analgesic. Ibuprofen is a monocarboxylic acid that is propionic acid in which one of the hydrogens at position 2 is substituted by a 4-(2-methylpropyl) phenyl group. It has a role as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a non-narcotic analgesic, a cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor, a cyclooxygenase 1 inhibitor, an antipyretic, a xenobiotic, an environmental contaminant and a radical scavenger. It derives from a propionic acid. It is a conjugate acid of an ibuprofen (1- ).

Some key points about ibuprofen. 

·        Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
·        It is widely used to relieve symptoms of pain, fever, and inflammation.
·        People with heart problems, stroke, or peptic ulcers should use it with care.
·        It should not be used in the last 3 months of pregnancy.
·        It is considered a non-addictive alternative to opioid painkillers.

Ibuprofen dosing information



  • Usual Adult Dose for Dysmenorrhea:
200-400 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

  • Usual Adult Dose for Osteoarthritis:
Initial dose: 400 to 800 mg orally every 6 to 8 hours.
Maintenance dose: May be increased to a maximum daily dose of 3200 mg based on patient response and tolerance.
  • Usual Adult Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Initial dose: 400 to 800 mg orally every 6 to 8 hours.
Maintenance dose: May be increased to a maximum daily dose of 3200 mg based on patient response and tolerance.

  • Usual Adult Dose for Pain or Fever:
Oral: Mild to moderate pain:
200 to 400 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Doses greater than 400 mg have not been proven to provide greater efficacy.

IV: (Patients should be well hydrated before IV ibuprofen administration):
Pain: 400 to 800 mg intravenously over 30 minutes every 6 hours as needed.
Fever: Initial: 400 mg intravenously over 30 minutes
Maintenance: 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours or 100 to 200 mg every 4 hours as needed.

  • Usual Pediatric Dose for Fever or Pain:
Greater than 6 months to 12 years:
5 mg/kg/dose for temperature less than 102.5 degrees F (39.2 degrees C) orally every 6 to 8 hours as needed.10 mg/kg/dose for temperature greater than or equal to 102.5 degrees F (39.2 degrees C) orally every 6 to 8 hours as needed. The recommended maximum daily dose is 40 mg/kg.

OTC pediatric labeling (analgesic, antipyretic): 6 months to 11 years: 7.5 mg/kg/dose every 6 to 8 hours; Maximum daily dose: 30 mg/kg.

Side-effects and risks

As with other NSAIDS, ibuprofen can cause stomach-related side-effects, so you should speak to your doctor if you tend to have problems such as heartburn or indigestion. Your doctor may suggest a different type of NSAID and/or prescribe a drug called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to help protect your stomach.

Long-term use of NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, can also increase the risk of problems with your heart or circulation – especially if you have other risk factors for these conditions. Therefore you shouldn't take ibuprofen for long-term pain relief without seeing your doctor first, and you shouldn't take ibuprofen if you're also being prescribed another type of NSAID tablet.


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