Taking too much ibuprofen can result in an overdose. This can cause dangerous side effects such as damage to your stomach or intestines. In rare cases, an overdose can be fatal.
For this reason, you should always take it exactly as directed on the label or as recommended by your doctor.
If you think that you or someone you know has overdosed on ibuprofen, contact your local poison center or your local emergency services. In the United States, you can reach the poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222.
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (OTC NSAID) used to relieve inflammation, fever, and mild pain.
People take this medication to
Some brand names for ibuprofen are:
Read on to learn how to safely use this medication as well as the signs of an overdose.
Your recommended dose of ibuprofen depends on your age.
Adults over 60 years old should take as little ibuprofen as possible to manage their symptoms. Older adults have a higher risk of kidney and gastrointestinal side effects.
To determine the safe dosage for children, you need to know the child’s weight and the formulation of ibuprofen you’re using.
Ibuprofen for children is available in:
- infant drops
- chewable tablets
Liquid measurements are given in milliliters (mL). Make sure to read the label and measure carefully.
Never give your child more than four doses in one day. The following chart shows how much ibuprofen a child can consume depending on their weight.
|Weight||50-mg/1.25-mL infant drops dosage||100-mg/5-mL liquid dosage||50-mg/1 chewable tablet dosage|
|12 to 17 pounds||1.25 mL (50 mg)||Ask your doctor||Ask your doctor|
|18 to 23 pounds||1.875 mL (75 mg)||Ask your doctor||Ask your doctor|
|24 to 35 pounds||2.5 mL (100 mg)||5 mL (100 mg)||2 tablets (100 mg)|
|36 to 47 pounds||3.75 mL (150 mg)||7.5 mL (150 mg)||3 tablets (150 mg)|
|48 to 59 pounds||5 mL (200 mg)||10 mL (200 mg)||4 tablets (200 mg)|
|60 to 71 pounds||n/a||12.5 mL (250 mg)||5 tablets (250 mg)|
|72 to 95 pounds||n/a||15 mL (300 mg)||6 tablets (300 mg)|
|over 95 pounds||n/a||20 mL (400 mg)||8 tablets (400 mg)|
Do not give ibuprofen to children under 6 months old.
For infants ages 6 months to 1 year, the safe dose of the infant formulation depends on their weight.
|Weight||50-mg/1.25-mL infant drops dosage|
|under 12 pounds||Ask your doctor before administering this medication.|
|12 to 17 pounds||1.25 mL (50 mg)|
|18 to 23 pounds||1.875 mL (75 mg)|
Certain medications can increase your risk of having an overdose of ibuprofen.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which can interfere with the metabolism of NSAIDs while also increasing pain and bleeding
- antihypertensives, which are medications for high blood pressure that may increase the risk of kidney damage
- aspirin, which may increase the risk of serious side effects
- diuretics (water pills), which increase the risk of kidney failure when combined with ibuprofen
- lithium, which increases the risk of toxicity
- methotrexate, which increases the risk of toxicity
- anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as warfarin, because they can increase your risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding
Mixing ibuprofen with alcohol can also increase your risk of having serious side effects, like stomach or intestinal bleeding.
Not everyone will experience symptoms of an ibuprofen overdose right away. Some people won’t have any visible symptoms at all.
If you do experience symptoms of an ibuprofen overdose, they’re usually mild. Mild symptoms may
- tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- stomach pain
- blurred vision
Severe symptoms can include:
If you or someone you know has taken more than the maximum recommended dose of ibuprofen, contact your local poison center. In the United States, you can reach the poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222. You can call this number 24 hours a day. Stay on the line for further instructions.
If possible, have the following information ready:
- the person’s age, height, weight, and gender
- how much ibuprofen was ingested
- when the last dose was taken
- whether the person also took other drugs, supplements, or had any alcohol
You can also receive guidance by using the poison center’s webPOISONCONTROL online tool.
- Text “POISON” to 202-677-7600 to save the contact information for poison control to your smartphone.
If you can’t access a phone or computer, go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not wait until symptoms start. Some people who overdose on ibuprofen will not show symptoms right away.
At the hospital, doctors will monitor breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs. A doctor may insert a tube through the mouth to look for internal bleeding.
You may also receive the following treatments:
- medications that make you throw up
- decontamination of the stomach with activated charcoal
- benzodiazepines to control seizures
- breathing support, such as oxygen or a breathing machine (ventilator)
- intravenous fluids
- antihypertensive medications to reduce blood pressure
Children who consume more than
An overdose of ibuprofen can cause severe problems in the gastrointestinal tract. These include:
- stomach or intestinal perforation, which can be fatal
- liver or kidney failure
With prompt medical treatment, you’re likely to recover from an ibuprofen overdose. However, some people develop liver, kidney, or stomach issues. People with a prior history of ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding should not take NSAIDS like ibuprofen.
Always read product labels carefully and take the smallest amount of ibuprofen possible that will help relieve your symptoms.
An adult should not take more than 3,200 mg of ibuprofen per day. A safe dose for children is much less than that. If you or someone you know has taken more than the recommended dose, call your local poison center or your local emergency services.
If you experience symptoms of an ulcer after taking ibuprofen, stop taking ibuprofen and call your doctor.