Ibuprofen Oral

​Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is commonly used to treat pain and reduce inflammation. Learn how to use the medication, side effects, special precautions, and more.

What is this medication for?

​Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is commonly used to treat pain and reduce inflammation. It can also be used to bring down the body temperature during a fever and to relieve headaches, joint or muscle pain/inflammation, gout attacks, toothaches, and menstrual pain.

How should I take/use this medication?

Ibuprofen should be best taken with meals to reduce stomach irritation. Your healthcare professional may also give you an additional medication to protect the stomach. E.g. Famotidine, Omeprazole.

Ibuprofen comes as tablets and liquid medications. It is available over the counter without a prescription for short-term relief of fever, mild to moderate pain and inflammation (redness, swelling and soreness). ​As there are different strengths and dosage forms for Ibuprofen, please make sure to take it as recommended on the label. Please check with your healthcare professional if you are unsure.

Do not exceed the dose recommended on the label as taking too much Ibuprofen over time may cause serious stomach, kidney or heart problems.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

​Ibuprofen can be taken on as needed basis for short term use as prescribed by the doctor. 

If your doctor has prescribed the medication for you to be taken regularly, do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medication to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if: 

  • You are allergic to this class of medications (i.e., NSAIDs), aspirin, or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You have a history of stomach or bowel ulcers or bleeding, or bleeding problems. 
  • You have asthma. 
  • You have a history of kidney, heart problems or stroke.
  • You are planned for any medical procedures, surgeries, or dental procedures.

Ibuprofen should be used at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest possible time. Prolonged use without medical supervision should be avoided as this may increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke, kidney problems and stomach ulcers. Do not exceed the dose as recommended on the label. 

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Stomach discomfort/irritation e.g. stomach pain, heartburn (burning sensation in your chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat i.e. acid reflux) 
    • Taking this medication after food reduces the risk of this side effect.
  • Mild bleeding such as
    • Unexplained nose bleed.
    • Bleeding from gums when brushing teeth.
    • Bleeding from small cuts for 10-15 minutes even as you apply pressure on the wound. Check with your healthcare professional if the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or if you feel unwell. 

Inform your healthcare professional if these side effects do not go away and are bothersome to you.

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following: 

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Patients taking Ibuprofen may have an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding (bleeding in the stomach or intestines). If you experience any serious bleeding, you should stop the medication and inform your healthcare professional immediately. 

Serious bleeding may include one or more of the following: 

  • Blood in the urine
  • Black sticky stools (if you are not using iron supplements at the same time)
  • Unexplained large bruises
  • Coughing up blood or coffee ground-like vomit
  • Sudden severe headache with nausea or loss of consciousness

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication? 

Ibuprofen can interact with blood-thinning medications (e.g. Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Warfarin). 
Ibuprofen is a NSAID, hence avoid taking together with other NSAIDs (e.g. Naproxen, Diclofenac). 
Avoid taking excessive amounts of alcohol when taking Ibuprofen as this will increase the risk of bleeding in the stomach.

How should I store this medication?

Keep this medication away from children. 
Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. 

For syrup, refer to the package leaflet for information on storage and expiry.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin. 

Additional Information 

If you experience the following symptoms, your condition may be too serious for self-treatment, and you should consult a doctor:

  • Ongoing fever even after 3 days of treatment 
  • Ongoing headache that lasts for more than 2 days 
  • No improvement in pain after 7 days of treatment 
  • If any of your symptoms worsen after treatment



Please take note that the above is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you have any concerns about your medication or if you have other side effects that you think are caused by this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on April 2024

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