The usual dose for adults is one or two 200mg tablets 3 times a day. If this isn't enough, your doctor may prescribe a higher dose of up to 600mg to take 4 times a day.
If you take ibuprofen 3 times a day, leave at least 6 hours between doses. If you take it 4 times a day, leave at least 4 hours between doses.
If you have pain all the time, your doctor may recommend slow-release ibuprofen tablets or capsules. It's usual to take these once a day in the evening or twice a day. Leave a gap of 10 to 12 hours between doses if you're taking ibuprofen twice a day.
For people who find it difficult to swallow tablets or capsules, ibuprofen is available as a tablet that melts in your mouth, granules that you mix with a glass of water to make a drink, and as a syrup.
Swallow ibuprofen tablets or capsules whole with a glass of water or juice. Don't chew, break, crush or suck them as this could irritate your mouth or throat.
Always take ibuprofen tablets and capsules after a meal or snack or with a drink of milk. It will be less likely to upset your tummy.
What if I forget to take it?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it's almost time for your next dose. In this case, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Taking too much ibuprofen by mouth can be dangerous. It can cause side effects such as:
- feeling sick and vomiting
- tummy pain
- feeling tired or sleepy
- black poo and blood in your vomit - a sign of bleeding in your stomach
- tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
- difficulty breathing or changes in your heart rate (slower or faster)
If you need to go to hospital, take the ibuprofen packet or leaflet inside it plus any remaining medicine with you.