• Take ibuprofen with a drink of milk, a meal or after a snack.
  • If you are taking the modified-release capsules or tablets, these must be swallowed whole with a drink of water and should not be crushed or chewed.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with ibuprofen.

About ibuprofen

Type of medicine Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used for Relief of pain and inflammation
Also called Brufen®, Brufen Retard®
Hedex Ibuprofen®
Available as Tablets, capsules, granules, oral suspension, modified-release tablets and modified-release capsules

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is also known as an NSAID.

It is used to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, muscular pain, headaches, migraine, back ache, period (menstrual) pain, pain after surgery and dental pain. It can also be used to relieve cold and 'flu-like' symptoms including fever (high temperature) in adults and children.

Ibuprofen works by blocking a substance in the body called cyclo-oxygenase (also called COX) which is involved in the production of certain irritant chemicals in response to injury or disease. By blocking the action of COX, ibuprofen reduces the symptoms of pain and inflammation.

Ibuprofen is also available as a topical preparation to be applied directly to the skin to help relieve muscle and joint pain. There is more information about this in a separate leaflet called Ibuprofen (topical).

Before taking ibuprofen

Before taking ibuprofen make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
  • If you have ever had a stomach or duodenal ulcer.
  • If you have heart problems.
  • If you have ever had blood clotting problems.
  • If you have blood in your stools.
  • If you have systemic lupus erythematosus (an inflammatory condition also called lupus or SLE).
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic or unusual reaction to any other NSAID (this includes aspirin, naproxen, diclofenac and indometacin) or to any other medicine.

How to take ibuprofen

  • Before starting ibuprofen, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
  • Take ibuprofen exactly as you have been told to. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how much to take and when to take it. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack. If you are giving ibuprofen to your child, check the label carefully to make sure you are giving the correct dose for the age of your child.
  • Taking ibuprofen with a glass of milk or after eating some food may help prevent side-effects such as indigestion.
  • If you have been given a modified-release form of ibuprofen, swallow your tablets or capsules whole with a glass of water. Do not chew the capsules or tablets.
  • If you have been given the sachets of ibuprofen granules, mix the contents of the sachet into a glass of water to make a fizzy drink, and drink immediately.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time so that you do not suffer from side-effects. If you need to take ibuprofen for a long time, your doctor may want to prescribe another medicine along with it to protect your stomach from irritation.
  • Keep your regular doctor's appointments so your progress can be monitored.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with ibuprofen.

Can ibuprofen cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible ibuprofen side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain Make sure you take your doses with a meal or with a glass of milk. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
Feeling or being sick Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods - avoid rich or spicy food
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace the lost fluids
Other possible side-effects: constipation, wind, headache, dizziness, nervousness, mood changes, drowsiness and difficulty sleeping If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

Important: If you experience any of the following, speak with your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay:

  • Any sign of bleeding in your stomach or intestine, such as blood in vomit or dark stools.
  • Any shortness of breath, or swelling of your mouth or face.
  • A severe skin rash.
  • A severe headache with a high temperature and a stiff neck.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store ibuprofen

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.