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Ibuprofen

Pronunciation

Generic Name: ibuprofen (EYE-bue-PROE-fen)
Brand Name: Examples include Advil and Motrin IB

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It may cause an increased risk of serious and sometimes fatal heart and blood vessel problems (eg, heart attack, stroke). The risk may be greater if you already have heart problems or if you take ibuprofen for a long time. Do not use ibuprofen right before or after bypass heart surgery.

Ibuprofen may cause an increased risk of serious and sometimes fatal stomach ulcers and bleeding. Elderly patients may be at greater risk. This may occur without warning signs.


Ibuprofen is used for:

Treating minor aches and pains caused by the common cold, headaches, toothaches, back or muscle aches, menstrual cramps, or arthritis. It may be used to reduce fever. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ibuprofen is an NSAID. Exactly how it works is not known. It may block certain substances in the body that are linked to inflammation. NSAIDs treat the symptoms of pain and inflammation. They do not treat the disease that causes those symptoms.

Do NOT use ibuprofen if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in ibuprofen
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, trouble breathing, growths in the nose, dizziness) to aspirin or an NSAID (eg, ibuprofen, celecoxib)
  • you have recently had or will be having bypass heart surgery
  • you are in the last 3 months of pregnancy

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using ibuprofen:

Some medical conditions may interact with ibuprofen. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal product, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or stomach or bowel problems (eg, bleeding, perforation, ulcers, persistent or returning stomach pain or heartburn)
  • if you have a history of swelling or fluid buildup, lupus, asthma, growths in the nose (nasal polyps), or mouth inflammation
  • if you have high blood pressure, blood disorders, bleeding or clotting problems, heart problems (eg, heart failure), or blood vessel disease, or if you are at risk for any of these diseases
  • if you are dehydrated or have low fluid volume (eg, caused by diarrhea, vomiting, not drinking fluids)
  • if you have poor health or low blood sodium levels, you drink alcohol, or you have a history of alcohol abuse

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with ibuprofen. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), aspirin, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), heparin, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (eg, fluoxetine) because the risk of stomach bleeding may be increased
  • Probenecid because it may increase the risk of ibuprofen's side effects
  • Cyclosporine, lithium, methotrexate, or quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by ibuprofen
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, enalapril) or diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide) because their effectiveness may be decreased by ibuprofen

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if ibuprofen may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use ibuprofen:

Use ibuprofen as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Ibuprofen comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get ibuprofen refilled.
  • Take ibuprofen by mouth with or without food. It may be taken with food if it upsets your stomach. Taking it with food may not lower the risk of stomach or bowel problems (eg, bleeding, ulcers). Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have persistent stomach upset.
  • Take ibuprofen with a full glass of water (8 oz/240 mL) as directed by your doctor.
  • If you miss a dose of ibuprofen and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about the proper use of ibuprofen.

Important safety information:

  • Ibuprofen may cause dizziness or drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use ibuprofen with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Serious stomach ulcers or bleeding can occur with the use of ibuprofen. Taking it in high doses or for a long time, smoking, or drinking alcohol increases the risk of these side effects. Taking ibuprofen with food will NOT reduce the risk of these effects. Contact your doctor or emergency room at once if you develop severe stomach or back pain; black, tarry stools; vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds; or unusual weight gain or swelling.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take ibuprofen if you drink more than 3 drinks with alcohol per day.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than 10 days for pain or 2 days for sore throat without checking with your doctor.
  • If you have pain that does not get better within 10 days or fever that does not get better within 3 days, check with your doctor. If your symptoms get worse or if you have new symptoms, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your doctor if you have a severe or persistent sore throat. Check with your doctor if you have a sore throat with fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Ibuprofen has ibuprofen in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has ibuprofen in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do not take aspirin while you are using ibuprofen unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Use ibuprofen with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, including stomach bleeding and kidney problems.
  • Different brands of ibuprofen may have different dosing instructions for CHILDREN. Follow the dosing instructions on the package labeling. If your doctor has given you instructions, follow those. If you are unsure of the dose to give a child, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Ibuprofen may cause harm to the fetus. Do not take it during the last 3 months of pregnancy. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking ibuprofen while you are pregnant. It is not known if ibuprofen is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking ibuprofen.

Possible side effects of ibuprofen:

All medicines can cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; gas; headache; heartburn; nausea; stomach pain or upset.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; trouble breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody or black, tarry stools; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; depression; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; mental or mood changes; numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; ringing in the ears; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent stomach pain or nausea; severe vomiting; shortness of breath; stiff neck; sudden or unexplained weight gain; swelling of hands, legs, or feet; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual joint or muscle pain; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision or speech changes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include decreased urination; loss of consciousness; seizures; severe dizziness or drowsiness; severe nausea or stomach pain; slow or troubled breathing; unusual bleeding or bruising; vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Proper storage of ibuprofen:

Store ibuprofen at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Avoid temperatures above 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep ibuprofen out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about ibuprofen, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ibuprofen is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ibuprofen or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about ibuprofen. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to ibuprofen. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using ibuprofen.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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