“How much ibuprofen is too much?”

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The answer to this question is... it depends.

Ibuprofen is a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug or NSAID.

Ibuprofen in low doses, taken as needed, every so often, has analgesic effect. In order to get anti- inflammatory effects from ibuprofen, you need to take it regularly in a dose of at least 1,200mgs per day.

Even this dose may not be effective enough to get the desired anti-inflammatory effect in some patients.

However, with the blocking of inflammation come potential side-effects. Ibuprofen works by blocking the conversion of arachadonic acid into prostaglandins. The enzyme responsible for this transformation is called cyclooxygenase. When the effect of cyclooxygenase is blocked by drugs like ibuprofen, the patient also becomes prone to develop side-effects such as stomach ulcers as well as kidney problems. These side-effects can occur at relatively low doses.

Also, if a patient is also taking drugs like an aspirin to protect the heart or steroids for other inflammatory problems, then the risk of ulcer is increased dramatically. Plus, ibuprofen lowers the effect of aspirin as a heart protector.

Certainly, increasing the dose of ibuprofen higher than 2,400 mgs for any length of time carries even more risk. And this risk goes up with increasing age of the patient. In addition, a patient who has other medical problems such as heart disease or kidney should avoid ibuprofen and any other NSAID.
As with any drug, the least amount needed to do the trick is recommended. In high risk patients who need a bit of analgesic effect, acetaminophen can be substituted for ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen has drug interaction with other common medications. You need to check with your physician or pharmacist before taking ibuprofen.

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