Ibuprofen is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with the generic name Motrin. The absorption of Ibuprofen is rapid, and it reaches its peak of action within 1 to 2 hours. The half-life of Ibuprofen is 1.8 to 2 hours overall. It is used to treat conditions like mild to severe pain, fever, inflammation of tissues (red, swollen, and tender tissues), rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and gout.

Ibuprofen is rapidly metabolized and eliminated through urine within 24 hours of consumption. All the administered doses go through metabolism, representing 99 percent of the eliminated dosage.

Mechanism Of Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is categorized as a non-selective inhibitor of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. The enzyme COX is involved in prostaglandin and thromboxane synthesis arachidonic acid pathway for mediation of pain and fever and stimulation of blood clotting, respectively.

This inhibition of COX (COX-1 and COX-2) activity decreases the synthesis of prostaglandins involved in the mediation of inflammation, pain, fever, and swelling while it could cause gastrointestinal ulceration, respectively.

How Long Does Ibuprofen Take To Work?

Consumed orally, Ibuprofen takes about 15 to 30 minutes to initiate its action, and in about one to two hours, the full effect is observed. You begin to feel slightly lightheaded with decreased fever and pain.

Forms And Strengths

Ibuprofen is available in the form of regular tablets, capsules, chewable tablets, and liquid, i.e., oral suspension.

The regular tablets are present in the strengths of 100, 200, 400, 600, and 800 mg. On the other hand, the chewable ones are available only in the strengths of 100 mg.

The Ibuprofen capsules are available in the strengths of 200 mg while the oral suspension in the strengths of 100 mg per 5 ml for adults and 50 mg per 1.25 ml for infants.


Standardized Adult Dosage

For pain relief:

  • Recommended dosage- 200-400 mg every 4-6 hours
  • Maximum dosage- 1200 mg of over-the-counter and 3200 mg by prescription per day. 

For fever:

  • Recommended dosage- 200-400 mg every 4-6 hours
  • Maximum dosage- 1200 mg per day

For Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps):

  • Recommended dosage- 200-400 mg every 4-6 hours
  • Maximum dosage- 1200 mg of over-the-counter and 3200 mg by prescription per day.

For Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid Arthritis):

  • Recommended dosage- 1200 to 3200 per day
  • Maximum dosage- 3200 per day

Standardized pediatric dosage:

The dosage depends solely on the weight of the child. The following weight ratio might be of reference:

  • 12-17 lbs.: 1.25 ml of infant drops.
  • 18-23 lbs.: 1.875 ml of infant drops.
  • 24-35 lbs.: 2.5 ml of infant drops, 5ml or 1 tsp of liquid suspension, one chewable tablet.
  • 36-47 lbs.: 3.75 ml of infant drops or 7.5 ml or 1.5 tsp of the liquid suspension.
  • 48-59 lbs.: 5 ml of infant drops, 10 ml or 2 tsp of liquid suspension, two chewable tablets, or one adult tablet
  • 60-71 lbs.: 12.5 ml or 2.5 tsp of liquid suspension, 2.5 chewable tablets, or one adult tablet.
  • 72-95 lbs.: 15 ml or 3tsp of liquid suspension, three chewable tablets, or 1-1.5 adult tablets.
  • 96 lbs. and above: 17.5-20 ml or 4 tsp of liquid suspension, 3.5-4 chewable tablets, or two adult tablets.

How To Consume Ibuprofen?

Swallow regular tablets and capsules. Avoid chewing, crushing, or sucking on them as it might irritate your throat. Make sure you consume plenty of water to make swallowing easier.

Chewable tablets and liquids are available for those who find it difficult to swallow tablets and also for children. While using the liquid, use the measuring spoon that comes along with it. Do NOT use a kitchen spoon at any cost.

Prefer consuming Ibuprofen with a small meal, snacks, or just with milk. The chances of getting an upset stomach reduces. Avoid consuming Ibuprofen right after food, as it might slow the absorption process down. (Bushra, R. and Aslam, N., 2010)

How Long Should You Take Ibuprofen For?

If the reason behind your consumption of Ibuprofen is short-lived pain, toothache, period pain, or mild fever, you might only need to consume it for a day or two.

However, for a long-term condition like Arthritis, consulting your doctor for the duration would be a good call.

If, in any case, you are prescribed Ibuprofen for more than six months, you would be given another medicine along to protect your stomach from any harmful side effects.(Rainsford, K.D., 2011)

Who Should Not Take Ibuprofen?

If any of the below conditions sound relatable and familiar, it is not advised for you to consume Ibuprofen. However, consulting the doctor before the decision would prove of help.

  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Alcoholism
  • Hypertension
  • Heart attack
  • Systemic mastocytosis
  • Heart attack
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Hemorrhage stroke
  • Blood clot
  • Liver infection
  • Gastrointestinal ulcer
  • Bleeding of stomach and intestine
  • Kidney transplant
  • Pregnancy
  • Tobacco, smoking
  • Chronic kidney disease stage 4 and 5
  • History of gastric bypass surgery
  • History of kidney donation

Side Effects Of Ibuprofen

The fairly common side effects of Ibuprofen are listed below:

Excessive sweating
Ringing in the ears


Your doctor must track your progress. There could be chances of a stroke or heart attack, especially if you have had one before or have a condition that could lead to it.

If you are above years of age, consulting a doctor is a must. The treatment could lead you to have some serious skin reactions such as peeling, loosening of the skin, blistering, chills, cough, diarrhea, fever, joint or muscle pain, itching, red skin lesions, sores, ulcers, sore throat, white spots in the mouth or on lips, or unusual tiredness or weakness. In cases as such, consult your doctor immediately.

Some warning signs that, when noticed, are to be reported immediately:

  • Swelling of face, fingers, feet, and/ or legs
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Bloody vomit
  • Unusual weight gain
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Decreased urination
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Slurring of speech

Interaction Of Ibuprofen With Other Drugs

If not taken cautiously, Ibuprofen can react dangerously with certain medicines. To prevent this, carefully read the leaflet of the medicines to check whether or not it is in complimentary with Ibuprofen. In case you are confused or unsure, consult your local pharmacist or doctor.

Since Ibuprofen is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), it is not advised to take more than one kind of them simultaneously.

What To Do If You Missed A Dose?

Ibuprofen is used only when needed unless prescribed otherwise. Skip the dose that is missed if you are close to the next dosage. Do NOT consume a double dose to even it out.

What Happens If You Overdose?

Seek emergency attention in case you overdose or call the poison helpline. Overdosing symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, drowsiness, black or bloody stools, shallow breathing, coughing up blood, fainting, or coma.


Ibuprofen is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that is used for conditions like mild to severe pain, fever, inflammation of tissues (red, swollen, and tender tissues), rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, gout, and period cramps.

Consulting your doctor before consumption is a must so as to prevent any severe side effects and hazardous interactions.

It is suggested to consult your doctor in case you are consuming any of the following medicine:

  • Another NSAID
  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
  • Ciclosporin
  • Diuretics- medicines used to treat hypertension
  • Lithium- medicines used for depression and bipolar disorder
  • Methotrexate
  • An SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)- medicines used to treat depression, also known as anti-depressants



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