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Ibuprofen: Pain Mechanism, Dose Safety and Drug Interactions

A brief discussion of mechanism of action, maximum doses and drug interactions for ibuprofen

Video transcript

>> Hello and welcome to "VideoScript", presented by

Today in the second of three presentations, we continue reviewing ibuprofen, a commonly used medication in the class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. We will discuss how NSAIDs relieve pain, and some issues related to dosing and safety.

NSAIDs work by reducing compounds in the body known as prostaglandins that lead to inflammation, pain and fever.

Specifically, NSAIDs inhibit the cyclooxygenase, or COX enzymes that lead to the formation of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are found in most tissues and organs.

Dosing for ibuprofen is varied and is based upon the condition being treated. For self-treatment of pain or inflammation, it is important to follow label directions and not to exceed the maximum recommended dose. If ibuprofen is prescribed by your healthcare provider, follow their treatment directions.

Adults and children older 12 years of age and older can take over-the-counter ibuprofen every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Children and infants can use nonprescription ibuprofen every 6 to 8 hours as needed, but do not exceed 4 doses in 24 hours.

For higher doses often used for treatment of arthritis, follow the prescriber’s directions exactly.

In older patients, and those with reduced kidney or liver function, doses should be initiated at the lowest recommended doses, and titrated up based on effectiveness and tolerability.

In general, it is best to use the lowest possible dose of an NSAID for the shortest amount of time, as higher doses and long-term use can be associated with more frequent side effects.

There are many important drug interactions with ibuprofen. Patients should inform their healthcare provider of all prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin or herbal medications they take prior to using ibuprofen.

Examples of some common drugs that may interact with ibuprofen include ACE inhibitors, diuretics or water pills, blood thinners such as aspirin, warfarin or Plavix, other NSAIDs, and corticosteroids such as prednisone.

If you take heart, high blood pressure, or blood thinner medications, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any NSAID.

Thank you for joining us at for a brief review of ibuprofen. Please refer to our patient and professional information, drug interaction checker, and additional tools on

Patients with a concern about the use of ibuprofen should consult with their health care provider.

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