Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter pain medication that I recommend to both my dental and pain management patients. When used appropriately, it can be very effective in relieving discomfort and inflammation.
What is Ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen (sold under various brand names, such as Advil, Actiprofen, Motrin, and Genpril) is part of a popular class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.
NSAIDs work by keeping your body from producing substances that cause inflammation and make nerves more sensitive to pain.
People commonly take ibuprofen for sore muscles, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and, of course, migraine and headaches.
Basic Ibuprofen Dosage Information
An ibuprofen dosage depends on many factors — including age, weight, and the condition being treated.
Below are the universally recommended dosages listed by age. It’s important to note that children and adults do NOT receive the same dosage.
Children (under 12)
Fever: 0-3yrs >> Be sure to talk to your doctor. Dosage is given according to weight and temperature.
Fever: 4yrs-11yrs >> For temperature under 102.5F – orally every 6-8 hours as needed. For temperatures greater than 102.5F – orally every 6-8 hours as needed.
Pain: 0-3yrs >> Talk to your doctor before giving ibuprofen to a child under 4. 4yrs
Pain: 4-11yrs >> 10mg every 6-8 hours as needed.
Always check with a doctor before giving ibuprofen to children. Never give a child more than 40mg ibuprofen in one day without a doctor’s supervision, and give them the lowest dose that they need.
Adults (12 and up)
Fever: 200-400mg orally every 4-6 hours as needed.
Pain: 200-400mg every 4-6 hours as needed. There is no evidence that a higher dosage will provide more relief.
Arthritis: Be sure to talk to a doctor who knows your medical history. The usual dose is 400-800mg every 6-8 hours initially, increased to a maximum of 3200mg per day divided into 3-4 equal doses.
Be sure to read labels carefully. Adults should never take more than 800mg per dose or 3200mg per day.
Important Ibuprofen Dosage Tips
Make the most of ibuprofen by following these dosage tips:
- Take your dose with a full glass of water.
- If you’re taking regular prescribed doses, never take a double dose. If you miss a dose and it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the one you forgot.
- Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking ibuprofen.
- If you’re taking ibuprofen for headache, try to take it as soon as the headache begins when it will be more effective.
- If taking ibuprofen for headache (such as migraine headache), try a fast-acting version such as Advil Liqui-Gels.
Side Effects of Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen is a generally safe drug, but there are still dangers, especially if you get the wrong ibuprofen dosage.
Side effects are usually minimal, and most commonly include nausea, heartburn, gastrointestinal problems, headache, dizziness, or sleepiness.
Do you have questions about your ibuprofen usage? Talk to us at your next appointment.