What Happens if You Take Too Much Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is commonly used for pain. And because of this overdosage is fairly common. But what happens if you take too much ibuprofen? That’s the question we will be answering today.

Ibuprofen spilling from bottle

One thing that you would commonly find among people these days is the misuse of the drug. The truth is that many people don’t pay so much attention to the use of drugs. And because of that, a lot tend to take drugs as they please. One common one is that people don’t follow the prescribed dosage of the medication. You would hear people say words like “maybe taking more than the required dose would make the healing process faster”. But the truth is that it never makes it faster. The only reason why a person would do that is that they don’t have the necessary information on drug dosage. One of the commonly abused drugs are NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. That’s why we will be looking at what happens if you take too much ibuprofen. 

So ibuprofen happens to be one of the most popular over-the-counter NSAIDs used by people. And that’s why it’s one of the most abused drugs that you can find. It is used mainly for treating pain, inflammation, and fever. That’s why many people use it when they have back pain, toothaches, headaches, menstrual cramps, and even arthritis. Some of the brand names of this drug are Advil, Motrin, Midol, and Nuprin. So, is it possible to take too much ibuprofen? Of course yes. And certain side effects come with this. We will be taking a closer look at this as we go on. 

Dosage for Ibuprofen 

The recommended dosage for ibuprofen is dependent on your age. That’s why there’s a different dosage for children and adults. Let’s take a look at the recommended dosage for the different age groups. 

For babies 

Take note that ibuprofen shouldn’t be given to children that are below 6 months of age. For babies between 6 months and 1 year, there is a formulation. And this is based on their weight. If your baby weighs below 12 pounds then you have to ask your doctor if it’s okay to administer the drug. For babies between 12 and 17 pounds, the dosage is 50mg (1.25mL). And for babies between 18-23 pounds the dosage is around 75mg (1.875mL). 

For children 

Take note that for children as well you have to know their weight. Also, you have to know the formulation used. For children, this drug is available in liquids, drops, and also chewable tablets. The liquid measurements are actually in mL (millimeters). Usually, the label would tell you how much should be given. So make sure that you read the label very well before giving your child the medication. Also, never give your child more than 4 doses of ibuprofen in a day. The best thing for children is to ask their doctor for the required dose. 

For adults

The recommended dose for adults is about 1-2 tabs of 200mg tablets every 4-6 hours. For adults, you should not take more than 800mg of ibuprofen at a time. And throughout the day you must not take more than 3200mg of ibuprofen. For people over the age of 60, ibuprofen should be taken with caution. And that’s because the risk of having GI and kidney side effects is way higher. 

What Happens if You Take Too Much Ibuprofen?

What Happens if You Take Too Much Ibuprofen? 

The good thing about ibuprofen overdose is that most times it’s not life-threatening. Just a bit over 1% of people that take too much ibuprofen have serious side effects. That’s why very few people have had serious side effects with the use of ibuprofen. Take note that the symptoms of ibuprofen overdose can start 4 hours after taking way more than the required dose of the drug. 

Let’s take a look at some of the serious complications that come with an overdose of ibuprofen. 

  • Kidney toxicity: One serious complication that can occur after an overdose of ibuprofen is kidney failure. And this can happen in both children and adults. The thing though is that this is not common. The good news is that most times kidney failure as a result of too much ibuprofen can be reversed by healthcare professionals. 
  • Digestion toxicity: One common side effect even when taken at normal doses is heartburn. That’s because this drug blocks the COX-1 receptor. The blocking of this receptor in the stomach affects the protective layer of the stomach. That’s why people that take too much of this drug can have side effects like severe bleeding in the GI tract and stomach pain. 
  • CNS toxicity: Another serious side effect that can occur is the depression of the central nervous system. And this can lead to a coma. For children, it could come as seizures. While for some it could come as decreased consciousness. Emergency doctors can help reverse the effects of the drug on the CNS. 
  • Metabolic acidosis: When this happens the body isn’t able to get rid of acidic compounds in the tissues and blood. And this is known to cause other conditions like heart problems, increased risk of irregular heartbeat, the problem with the immune system, and many more. 

What Should You Do if You Suspect an Overdose? 

The very first thing that you need to do is seek medical attention immediately. The good thing is that doctors can reverse the effects of too much ibuprofen in the body. Usually, the doctor would try to get a complete history of how much was ingested and when. Also, the doctor would try to find out if other substances were taken along with ibuprofen. With this, the doctor would have an idea of how to treat the patient and manage the condition. 

In conclusion, ibuprofen overdose is fairly common. This is probably because it’s easily accessible. But one thing you must take note of is that the side effects are usually very mild. Even though they are usually not life-threatening this does not give you the license to overdose. You could be among the few that would have serious complications. So to avoid this make sure you stick to the dosage. That’s the only way you can avoid what happens if you take too much ibuprofen.

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