COVID-19 Information - To see our up to date advice for using our pharmacies - Click Here
Health Knowledge and Encyclopedia
At your local Pearn's Pharmacy we can offer advice on most general health matters. You can also use our Health Encyclopaedia to provide you with the tools and links you need to pinpoint symptoms and get a full explanation of a suspected condition.
Search by Keyword
Ibuprofen is a medicine that is used to:
How it works
Ibuprofen works as a painkiller by affecting chemicals in the body called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances released in response to illness or injury. They cause pain and inflammation (swelling). Prostaglandins that are released in your brain can cause a high temperature (fever or pyrexia).
The painkilling effect of ibuprofen begins soon after a dose is taken, but the anti-inflammatory effect will take longer to begin. It can sometimes take up to three weeks to get the best results.
Use in children
Ibuprofen may be given to children who are three months of age or over and weigh at least 5kg (11lbs) to relieve:
Sometimes, your GP or another healthcare professional may recommend ibuprofen for younger children. For example, babies who are two to three months of age can take ibuprofen to control a fever following a vaccination if paracetamol is unsuitable. This will be a single dose that can be repeated once after six hours if necessary.
Ibuprofen may also be given to children with rheumatic conditions, such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
An injection of ibuprofen can be given to premature babies (born before week 37 of the pregnancy) to treat patent ductus arteriosus (when a blood vessel in the heart does not close normally after birth).
When ibuprofen is given to babies or children, the correct dose may depend on:
If your baby or child has a high temperature that does not get better or they continue to experience pain, speak to your GP or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.
Names of ibuprofen products
Ibuprofen is made by many different pharmaceutical manufacturers, who each give their product a different brand name.
The packaging should state whether the product contains ibuprofen or not, and how much. This will usually be in mg (milligrams). For example, one ibuprofen tablet may contain 200mg of ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen with other medicines
In some products, ibuprofen is combined with other ingredients. For example, it is sometimes combined with a decongestant (a type of medicine that provides short-term relief for a blocked nose) and sold as a cold and flu remedy.
Types of ibuprofen
Ibuprofen products are available as:
The gels, sprays and mousses can be rubbed into the skin to relieve muscle aches and pains.
Do not take ibuprofen if you have:
Using it with caution
Use ibuprofen with caution if you have:
If you have any queries about using your medicines, speak to your GP or pharmacist, or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.
Ibuprofen and older people
Ibuprofen should also be used with caution in older people because they are at increased risk of developing more serious side effects.
For example, bleeding is more common among older people and is more likely to have a serious outcome. See Ibuprofen - side effects for more information. Older people are also more likely to have a heart or kidney problem, which ibuprofen can make worse.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Do not take ibuprofen if you are pregnant. Instead, you can take paracetamol to help ease short-term pain or reduce a high temperature (fever).
If absolutely necessary, you can take ibuprofen during the second trimester of your pregnancy (weeks 14 to 26). However, avoid taking ibuprofen during the first trimester (up to week 13) and third trimester (from week 27 until the birth) unless it is recommended by your doctor.
Ibuprofen can be used with caution while breastfeeding. Check the patient information leaflet for the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ibuprofen may be present in breast milk, although the amount should be too small to be harmful. It is recommended that you take paracetamol instead of ibuprofen, if possible.
Ibuprofen can cause a number of side effects. For this reason, the lowest possible dose of ibuprofen should be taken for the shortest possible time to control your symptoms.
Common side effects of ibuprofen include:
Less common side effects include:
Less common side effects can also include malaena (black stools) and haematemesis (blood in your vomit). These side effects can indicate that there is bleeding in your stomach.
Taking ibuprofen, particularly at high doses over long periods of time, can increase your risk of:
In females, long-term use of ibuprofen can sometimes be associated with reduced fertility. This is usually reversible when you stop taking ibuprofen.
See the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.for a full list of side effects.
Ability to drive
Ibuprofen is unlikely to affect your ability to drive safely, although some people may feel dizzy after taking ibuprofen. If you experience dizziness, do not drive.
When two or more medicines are taken at the same time, the effects of one medicine can be altered by the other. This is known as a drug-drug interaction.
Ibuprofen can sometimes interact with other medicines. Some of the more common interactions are listed below. However, this is not a complete list. If you want to check that your medicines are safe to take with ibuprofen, ask your doctor or pharmacist, or read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.
Ibuprofen, including ibuprofen products applied to the skin (such as gels), can interact with the following medicines:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Ibuprofen is a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs). These have many interactions with other medicines, including:
Do not take more than one type of NSAID at a time or you will be at increased risk of developing side effects. See the A-Z topic about NSAIDs - interactions for more information.
Food and alcohol
There are no known interactions between ibuprofen and food. Taking ibuprofen with or after food will help reduce any irritation to the stomach.
There are also no known interactions with ibuprofen and alcohol. However, the risk of bleeding in the stomach is higher in people who take ibuprofen and who drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
Take ibuprofen as directed on the packet or patient information leaflet, or as told to by your GP or pharmacist.
If you forget to take your dose of ibuprofen, check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine. You may be able to take the missed dose when you remember, or you may need to miss it out completely.
Doses of ibuprofen are usually taken three or four times a day. Make sure you leave the recommended time between doses and do not exceed the maximum dose for a 24-hour period.
If you accidentally take an extra dose of ibuprofen, miss out the next dose so you are not taking more than the recommended maximum dose for a 24-hour period. If you feel unwell or you are concerned, contact your GP or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.
If you have taken more than your recommended daily dose of ibuprofen, contact your GP or go to the nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department immediately. Taking too much ibuprofen can cause:
If you need further advice about missed or extra doses of ibuprofen:
Primary Choice is a campaign to help the public choose the right health advice in the community.Tell Me More
Repeat, one-off prescriptions. Collect in store or home delivery.Sign Up
Browse our NHS funded services offered in our stores.See Services
We are receiving an increase in the number of requests for delivery of medicines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Important Info
Use our GP locator service and nearest Pearn's Pharmacy BranchSearch Now