Easy-to-read medicine information about Ibuprofen – what it is, how to take Ibuprofen safely and possible side effects.
Type of medicine
Analgesics (pain killer)
Antipyretic (to control fever)
Anti-inflammatory (reduces pain and swelling)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID)
Ibuprofen is also contained in some other medications such as:
Nurofen Cold and Flu®
What is ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is one of a group of medicines known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Ibuprofen is used to treat different types of pain such as headache, migraine, dental pain, back pain or muscle pain, and pain resulting from injury. Read more about pain.
It also helps to ease redness, and swelling, and to treat fever.
Ibuprofen is available in different brands and strengths.
The lower strength (200 mg) tablets can be bought from a supermarket or over-the-counter from a pharmacy.
The higher strength tablets (400 mg, 600 mg, 800 mg) tablets can only be bought on prescription from a pharmacy.
The usual dose for adults is 200 mg to 400 mg 3 or 4 times daily if needed.
Do not take more than 1200 mg per day without checking with your doctor.
Use the lowest dose that works for you and stop as soon as you can.
The dose will be different to this if you have been prescribed a tablet which releases ibuprofen slowly; this is called a modified-released tablet.
Always follow the directions on the package or pharmacy label. If you are unsure about how much to take, check with your pharmacist.
How to take ibuprofen
Take ibuprofen with food or immediately after food, to prevent stomach upset.
Take ibuprofen with a full glass of water.
Swallow the tablets whole. Do not crush or chew them.
Usually you may only need to take ibuprofen for a short period of time, while you have pain or swelling.
Limit or avoid alcohol while you are taking ibuprofen. Alcohol can increase the risk of stomach side effects.
It is not harmful if you miss your ibuprofen dose. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember, with or after food. Do not take double the dose.
For most people, taking ibuprofen is safe. However, extra care is needed if you:
have high blood pressure
have high cholesterol
have heart failure or heart disease
your kidneys do not work very well
Discuss with your doctor if taking ibuprofen is suitable for you.
Non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke, either of which can lead to death. These serious side effects can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID and the risk may increase the longer you are taking an NSAID.
The risk appears greater at higher doses (such as ibuprofen 2400 mg per day); use the lowest effective amount for the shortest possible time.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms such as:
shortness of breath or trouble breathing
sudden weakness or numbness in one part or side of the body
sudden slurred speech.
Many medicines contain NSAIDs, including those used for colds, flu, so it is important to read the labels and avoid taking multiple medicines that contain NSAIDs.
NSAIDs cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction and stroke, either of which can be fatal. There are a large number of studies that support this finding, with varying estimates of how much the risk is increased. Estimates of increased risk range from 10 percent to 50 percent or more, depending on the drugs and the doses studied. This risk may occur as early as the first weeks of treatment and may increase with duration of use.
Remain alert for the development of cardiovascular adverse events throughout the patient’s entire treatment course, even in the absence of previous cardiovascular symptoms.
Inform patients to seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms of heart attack or stroke such as chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, sudden weakness or numbness in one part or side of the body, or sudden slurred speech.
Based on available data, it is unclear whether the risk for cardiovascular thrombotic events is similar for all non-aspirin NSAIDs.
The increase in cardiovascular thrombotic risk has been observed most consistently at higher doses.
The relative increase in serious cardiovascular thrombotic events over baseline conferred by NSAID use appears to be similar in those with and without known cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease. However, patients with known cardiovascular disease or risk factors had a higher absolute incidence of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events due to their increased baseline rate.
To minimize the risk for an adverse cardiovascular event in patients treated with an NSAID, prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible.
Some NSAIDs, including those in OTC products such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can interfere with the antiplatelet action of low dose aspirin used for cardioprotection by blocking aspirin’s irreversible COX-1 inhibition.
The overall benefit to risk of harm balance of ibuprofen remains positive.
There is a small increased risk of cardiovascular events with ibuprofen, when used at high doses (2400 mg per day) and for long-term therapy.
Prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration.
All non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk. It is not possible to clearly differentiate cardiovascular risk between different NSAIDs.
Patients receiving long-term ibuprofen should be periodically reviewed for effectiveness, adverse effects and development of cardiovascular risk factors.
Relevant risk factors for cardiovascular events associated with high-dose ibuprofen (and other NSAIDs) include hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes and smoking.
Prescribe with caution in patients with current or a history of heart failure, heart disease or circulatory problems such as stroke.
Discuss the risks of harm and benefits of NSAID treatment with patients before commencing therapy.
Report any adverse reactions to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).