Medically reviewed by Lindsay Cook, PharmDMedically reviewed by Lindsay Cook, PharmD

Ibuprofen, also known as Advil or Motrin, is among the first-line drugs of choice to reduce pain and fever. It belongs to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) class.

Ibuprofen can be used to treat pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), muscle aches, and backaches. It is also used to alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Ibuprofen is available in prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), and even combination products with other medicines.

However, knowing how much ibuprofen you can take for a specific condition is important for ensuring you get the desired effects while taking it safely. The usual adult dose ranges between 1200 milligrams (mg) and 3200 mg divided in four to six doses daily.

The article will discuss different dosage forms, uses, and appropriate doses for adults and children for various conditions.

Ibuprofen Dosage Forms & Strengths

Prescription ibuprofen comes in tablet form and suspension (liquid) for oral use. Nonprescription ibuprofen comes in:

  • Oral tablets
  • Chewable tablets
  • Capsules
  • Gel capsules
  • Suspension (liquid)
  • Drops (concentrated liquid)

Ibuprofen is also available as a combination medicine with other drugs, such as Advil PM (diphenhydramine and ibuprofen) and Duexis (famotidine and ibuprofen).

Ibuprofen is available in different strengths, including 200 mg, 400 mg, 600 mg, and 800 mg capsules, suspensions, and tablets.

How Much Ibuprofen Can I Take In One Dose?

The maximum single dose of ibuprofen for adults ranges from 200 mg to 800 mg.

The dose in children is calculated as required depending on the body weight. The maximum recommended dose is 40 mg/kg.

How Much Ibuprofen Can I Take In One Day?

An adult dose is 200 to 400 mg per dose every four to six hours. The dose and frequency of ibuprofen intake should be adjusted according to the person's needs and response to medicine. However, do not exceed a total daily dose of 3200 mg.

Can I Take Ibuprofen and Tylenol Together?

Ibuprofen and Tylenol (acetaminophen) are among the most widely used analgesics (pain relievers). Low doses of each medicine may offer greater efficacy without compromising safety.

In some people, the recommended doses of these medicines do not completely relieve pain. Increasing the recommended dose provides less analgesic effect and a higher risk of side effects.

However, combining ibuprofen and Tylenol may be advantageous for treating acute pain in the OTC setting. They provide pain-relieving effects through different mechanisms of action and, therefore, do not have any drug-drug interactions when used together.

A Guide to Ibuprofen Dosage

Generally, ibuprofen is prescribed or used OTC three or four times a day every four to six hours as needed for pain in adults and children above 12 years.

Children below 12 and infants may usually be given nonprescription ibuprofen every six to eight hours as needed for pain in 24 hours.

However, do not take ibuprofen more than four to six times in 24 hours.

The table below provides a general overview of different doses for a condition.

 Condition  Dose in Adults  Dose in Children
Mild to moderate pain 400 mg every four to six hours, as needed. 10 mg/kg/day every six to eight hours up to 40 mg/kg/day as needed
For osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or juvenile arthritis 1200 mg up to 3200 mg per day divided into three or four equal doses 30 mg/kg/day to 40 mg/kg/day divided into three to four doses as needed
Dysmenorrhea 400 mg every four hours as needed   -
 Fever 400 mg every four to six hours, as needed The dose must be determined by a healthcare provider based on body weight calculation. The usual dose is 5 mg/kg/day to 10 mg/kg/day

Arthritis Pain

The recommended dose for arthritis in adults is 1200 mg to 3200 mg daily (400 mg, 600 mg, or 800 mg three to four times a day).

The dose adjustment is according to a person's individual needs. It can be increased or decreased depending on the severity of symptoms and response to the drug. People with rheumatoid arthritis usually require higher doses of ibuprofen tablets than do people with osteoarthritis.

In case of mild to moderate pain, 400 mg every four to six hours is necessary for pain relief.

Period Cramps

For the treatment of dysmenorrhea, the initial dose starts at 400 mg every four hours as necessary for the relief of pain.

Dosing in Children and Adolescents

General dosing guidelines in children include:

  • Fever and mild to moderate pain: 5 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg in children aged six months to two every 6 to 8 hours. The recommended maximum daily dose is 40 mg/kg.
  • Juvenile arthritis: The recommended dose is 30 mg/kg/day to 40 mg/kg/day, divided into three to four doses. For mild pain, the initial dose may be 20 mg/kg/day.

The dose adjustment depends on body weight in children and adolescents taking a prescription ibuprofen product. A healthcare provider can help determine the most suitable dose for your child.

When taking an OTC ibuprofen product, read the package carefully. Always ensure you're giving the correct product for a specific indication and the right dose that matches the child's age on the label. 

When giving suspension, shake the liquid well before each use. Use the measuring cup or device provided to measure each suspension dose.

Stop giving nonprescription ibuprofen to your child if they do not start to feel better during the first 24 hours of treatment. Call a healthcare provider if your child develops new symptoms, including redness or swelling on the painful part of his body, or if the pain or fever worsens or lasts longer than three days.

When Are Dosage Adjustments Needed?

Ibuprofen is one of the most widely used NSAIDs. It is safe and effective when used in recommended doses. However, some pre-existing conditions require the dose adjustment or discontinuation of therapy to avoid adverse effects.

Tell your healthcare provider before using ibuprofen products if you have:

Stop taking ibuprofen and call your healthcare provider if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Symptoms of a cardiovascular thrombotic event, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, or slurred speech
  • Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding or an ulcer, such as pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, indigestion, dark stools, or vomiting blood
  • Serious skin reactions, such as a rash or blisters, along with a fever
  • Symptoms of liver toxicity, such as nausea, fatigue, jaundice, and flu-like symptoms
  • Symptoms of heart failure or edema, including shortness of breath, unexplained weight gain, or swelling

Use in Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

It is not recommended to take ibuprofen around 20 weeks or later during pregnancy. It may harm the fetus and cause problems with delivery.

Do not take ibuprofen around or after 20 weeks of pregnancy without asking your healthcare provider. If you become pregnant while taking ibuprofen or breastfeeding, call your healthcare provider. Tylenol is often the preferred alternative during pregnancy.

Kidney or Liver Problems

Nearly 15% of people taking ibuprofen therapy show an elevation in liver function tests. People with liver disease require regular liver function tests when they are receiving ibuprofen. Ibuprofen-induced hepatitis can lead to fatality.

Ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the kidneys, leading to kidney damage. People with kidney problems and people over the age of 65 are at greater risk.

Can You Overdose on Ibuprofen?

Taking a medicine at its recommended dose is mandatory for its proper use. Overusing any medicine can lead to severe and sometimes dangerous adverse effects.

Ibuprofen overdose is usually not fatal.

An ibuprofen overdose may cause symptoms such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fast eye movements that you cannot control
  • Lips, mouth, and nose turning blue
  • Nausea
  • Slow or difficult breathing
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

Call 911 or the Poison Control Center if a person has:

  • Collapsed
  • Seizure
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Swelling of the face or throat
  • Weakness in one part or side of your body


Ibuprofen is a commonly used NSAID that reduces pain and inflammation associated with various conditions. It is available in prescription and OTC for adults and children. Ibuprofen is also available as a combination medicine with other drugs.

The maximum daily dose for adults ranges from 200 to 800 mg every four to six hours daily as required, but it should not exceed 3200 mg per day.

When using ibuprofen in children, read the prescription label or patient information leaflet for OTC products. Never give more than recommended. The dose of ibuprofen in children depends on age and body weight. The maximum daily dose in children should not exceed 40 mg/kg/day.

Usually, ibuprofen is not toxic; however, call healthcare providers in case of an overdose to avoid potentially harmful effects.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.

2024-05-22T20:01:02Z dg43tfdfdgfd