What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, also known as an NSAID. The medication works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body. Ibuprofen is sold over the counter in low doses, as well as under prescription at higher dosages. It is used to reduce fever and treat pain or inflammation caused by many conditions such as headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury.

Ibuprofen is intended for short term use. There is a risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems such as heart attack or stroke, this risk is increased in patients taking the medication on a long term basis. Just as with other NSAID pain relievers, Ibuprofen is not to be used before or after heart bypass surgery. Without warning, Ibuprofen may cause serious effects on the stomach or intestines, including bleeding or perforation (forming of a hole), this can be fatal.

If a patient experiences chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech,  vision or balance problems they are urged to seek emergency care immediately.

Ibuprofen Side Effects

Common side effects include but are not limited to:

  • upset stomach
  • mild heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • bloating and gas
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nervousness
  • itchy skin or rash
  • blurred vision
  • ringing ears

Less Common, Serious Side Effects include but are not limited to:

  • chest pain
  • weakness
  • shortness of breath
  • slurred speech
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools, clay-colored stools
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • rapid weight gain or swelling
  • infrequent urinating or not at all
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite
  • itching
  • dark urine
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • fever
  • headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
  • bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness
  • severe headache
  • neck stiffness, chills, increased sensitivity to light
  • seizure (convulsions)

Ibuprofen Use

Ibuprofen is used to treat pain and inflammation in adult and pediatric patients who have a headache, toothache, back pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, or minor injury. It is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory medication that can be given at over the counter dosages as well as prescription strength. Ibuprofen is intended for short term use, patients taking this medication on the long term basis require regular testing by the prescribing doctor.

Adult Treatment:

  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Headache
  • Pain
  • Fever

Pediatric Treatment:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Ibuprofen Dosage and Directions

The average adult dosage and directions for Ibuprofen is 200 to 400 mg orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed, commonly used for pain and fever.

The Initial dose for patients with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis is  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.

Children 6 months to 12 years fever reducing dose is 5 mg/kg/dose for temperature less than 102.5 degrees F (39.2 degrees C) orally every 6 to 8 hours as needed and 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.

Infants and Children being treated with ibuprofen for pain may receive 4 to 10 mg/kg orally every 6 to 8 hours as needed. The recommended maximum daily dose is 40 mg/kg.