All about Ibuprofen: Uses, Side Effects, Forms and Dosage
When you’re in pain, you need a trusted, effective way to manage or eliminate your discomfort. Ibuprofen has been a popular option for short-term pain relief for over 50 years, however, side effects and benefits need to be assessed to determine whether it is suitable for you and your family.
Ibuprofen is a commonly used over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) primarily used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation.
Possible side effects
Ibuprofen, for short-term usage, is a generally well-tolerated analgesic medication. The most common side effects tend to be gastrointestinal and include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, and heartburn. Long-term usage or higher doses can lead to more serious side effects. Always speak with your healthcare professional if you need to use ibuprofen long-term.
What can ibuprofen be used for
Ibuprofen is a good all-around painkiller, however as it specifically treats inflammation, it is particularly beneficial to treat pain caused by arthritis, period pain, toothache, back pain, and joint or tendon sprains and strains.
How does ibuprofen work
Ibuprofen blocks the production of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2, which are enzymes released in the body in response to an injury or ailment. These enzymes are involved in converting arachidonic acid to prostaglandin (a chemical that promotes pain, fever, and inflammation). By reducing prostaglandins, ibuprofen reduces this pain, fever, and inflammation.
What different forms is ibuprofen available in?
- Tablet: A standard form of ibuprofen with a long shelf life and the ability to contain higher doses of the active ingredient.
- Liquid Capsules: Faster acting and with a higher rate of absorption, capsules are a newer choice.
- Syrup: A great option for children or if you're not able to swallow pills.
- Gel: Clear, non-greasy gels such as Nurofen gel offer targeted relief for muscle pain, sprains, strains, and sports injuries.
- Mousse: Similar to gel, mousse is also applied directly to the skin at the pain location.
- Spray: Another topical application like gel and mousse, spray can be more difficult to find in Australia.
How to take the right dosage
For adults and children over 12 years of age, a normal dose of ibuprofen is 200-400 mg up to three times a day. It's important to follow the advice on the packet to find the correct dose for your symptoms and age.
Facts about ibuprofen
- Ibuprofen was developed in the 1960s by Boots’ Laboratories in the UK and is still listed as one of the World Health Organisation’s essential medicines.
- Like other NSAIDs such as naproxen and diclofenac, ibuprofen is a powerful pain and inflammation reliever.
- Taking ibuprofen with food or milk helps prevent stomach issues.
- Can interfere with other medications like diuretics, antidepressants, antibiotics, and beta-blockers (speak to a medical professional for other possible contraindications).
Using ibuprofen in adults
Ibuprofen is an effective and popular short-term pain reliever for adults between the ages of 18 and 60 who are in good health with no pre-existing medical conditions.
Using ibuprofen in kids
Paediatric ibuprofen can be used for mild to moderate pain in children as long as you take care to follow the dosage instructions on the packet. If the pain persists for longer than 48 hours, it’s best to seek medical advice.
Using ibuprofen in babies
Babies might be more sensitive to adverse effects like upset stomach, so the use of ibuprofen in babies should be closely monitored and it's best to check with your pharmacist first before administering.
Who should not use ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is not suitable for those who have previously had an allergic reaction or those with stomach pains or ulcers, heart disease, kidney disease (or other kidney problems) or high blood pressure. Avoid taking ibuprofen if you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin or are pregnant or breastfeeding Contact a medical professional immediately if you get serious side effects like difficulty breathing, chest pain, sudden slurred speech, or weakness on one side of your body.
When to seek medical attention
You should not take over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs continuously for more than 10 days unless directed by a healthcare professional. If your symptoms persist longer than a few days, it's best to seek medical advice.
Different brands to look out for
Advil, Nurofen, Herron, and Brufen (often used for rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis), are just some of the brand names to choose from when buying ibuprofen.
Benefits of purchasing online at Amcal
It’s easy to order online from Amcal if you can’t come into your local store. Shop Amcal today from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about ibuprofen:
What is ibuprofen used for?
Ibuprofen is used for a variety of health concerns including fever, inflammation, dental pain, headaches and migraines, period pain, and muscle aches.
Who should take ibuprofen?
If you are a healthy adult with no pre-existing conditions and are not taking other medications, ibuprofen could be a good pain-relieving option. If you are at all unsure, visit your local Amcal store today to speak with one of our knowledgeable pharmacists about whether ibuprofen is right for you.
Who should not take ibuprofen?
You should not take ibuprofen if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past if you have heart failure or liver disease, are prone to stomach ulcers, pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking low-dose aspirin. If the side effects of ibuprofen outweigh the benefits, consider one of our alternative pain relief options.
How much ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory?
Unlike other medications like paracetamol and aspirin, ibuprofen is specifically an anti-inflammatory pain reliever. While higher doses of ibuprofen can be prescribed for conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, over-the-counter ibuprofen can offer significant anti-inflammatory benefits if taken for longer periods. Consult with your healthcare professional before taking ibuprofen for extended periods of time.