Often we get the question of how much ibuprofen a patient should take in order to have an effect on their condition, and it is usually followed by the question “Is it safe?”. Below is a review from the FDA on ibuprofen based on research regarding its use through 2002. This confirms our general recommendation of performing an ibuprofen “flood” to your system by taking the maximum daily dosage of 3200mg/day for a maximum of 10 days in order to reduce inflammation for acute pain. If you are experiencing chronic pain (long-standing onset), ibuprofen is not going to be effective in reducing your inflammation, and other treatment options should be considered.
Ibuprofen Use – Safety and Risks
For any NSAID, the risk for developing serious events is related to dose and duration of use. Ibuprofen has the most favorable GI safety profile of all NSAIDs.
The approved OTC daily dose of ibuprofen (1200 mg/day) is 37.5% of the maximum daily prescription dose (3200 mg/day); the OTC dosing regimen of 200 mg to 400 mg has been shown to provide very effective analgesia and is designed to allow for flexibility in dosing where necessary.
When OTC doses of ibuprofen (200-400 mg/dose; 1200 mg/day) are taken for acute episodes of pain (i.e., up to 10 days), its GI safety profile is even more favorable than at prescription doses, with an extremely low risk of causing serious gastrointestinal events.
Over the 18 years that ibuprofen has been available OTC, the Agency has received an average of approximately 18 reports per year of GI perforations, ulcers, or hemorrhage associated with OTC ibuprofen.
Even though for the past eighteen years non-prescription (OTC) ibuprofen has been subject to the same post-marketing surveillance activities required for prescription drug products, no new, significant health risks to the OTC population have been identified.
According to data collected and reported by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) from 1987 through 2000, ibuprofen poses significantly less risk than acetaminophen with respect to overdose. Ibuprofen exposures have also resulted in considerably less severe outcomes and fewer deaths than acetaminophen.