Advil - How Much & Often Can You Take it?

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in February of 2022. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py-NHBcdEkM

Brad: We’re got Chris the Pharmacist with us today, and we're going to talk about Advil. Everything you need to know if you want to learn the basics of it and some details, how much to take, etc. It won’t take very long. All right, Chris, let’s talk about Advil. What is it?


Chris: Advil is ibuprofen, also known as Motrin. It’s been around for a long, long time.


Brad: That’s the same thing?


Chris: Yeah. Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen, all three are synonymous. So, I usually just use Ibuprofen because it’s the easiest thing for me to remember. The reality of it, it comes as a 200-milligram tablet, or it comes as a liquid form for kids, or people that can’t swallow well.


Brad: Kids, is that 12 and under?


Chris: Yeah, you can use it as low as a year or less depending upon because we use it for fever reducers for kids if they’ve been sick. We dose down to their body weight. It’s not going to be just a package. The concentration that ibuprofen comes in liquid forms is a hundred milligrams per five milliliters.


Brad: Is that kids as in infants?


Chris: Yeah, babies. You’re going to dose it down and you would tell us the child’s weight, we would calculate out the proper weight and give you a dose. So, either talk to your doctor, your nurse, or your pharmacist to get the appropriate dose. Sometimes they get a vaccine, they’re uncomfortable, they get an ear infection, feverish. So, you provide the ibuprofen, reduces it. In absence of an allergy which would be one of the reasons we wouldn’t take it. It also has cross activity with aspirin. So, if you have an aspirin allergy, don’t want to use ibuprofen unless your doctor’s tested you and given you approval to safely use it.


Brad: And that’s all ages?


Chris: All ages. That’s for ever and ever. The other utility for adults and the cool thing about ibuprofen, it works for pain, it works for fever reduction, and it’s biggest utility is, it’s an anti-inflammatory. So, you have the sprained ankle, you have the bum knee, the bad back, you have the headache or a cold fever, COVID, whatever you got, you can use it.


Brad: So, swelling is the inflammation?


Chris: Yes. It’s going to help contain that. Often, that’s a byproduct with pain. Let’s say I blew my knee out. Swelling around the knee, it’s stretching, it’s pressing on those nerves, it’s uncomfortable. We can reduce some of that swelling with ice and other things too, but ibuprofen is going to work from the inside out to try and give you some comfort and give you some relief.


Brad: Take that pressure off.


Chris: Take that pressure off, but it's also analgesic, so not only is it reducing the inflammation but it’s telling your body, “Hey, I don’t care as much about the pain” So, you’re a little more comfortable and you can rest and allow your body’s natural healing capabilities to kick in.


Brad: Okay. Dosing.


Chris: Dosing, it comes as a 200-milligram tablet, 12 on up, it’s going to be one to two tablets every four to six hours apart as you need to a maximum of eight tablets, in the day. Often doctors may suggest it, because it’s a 200-milligram tablet they’ll tell you to maybe take more per their guidance. You’ll hear that from physicians to say, “Ah, just take this but we’re going to have you take a little bit more. The maximum dose that we really don’t want people to do is just two tablet every four to six hours apart. Eight in a day is your max. We want to protect our stomachs. One of the side effects of this is long term use of ibuprofen is stomach ulceration. We do have to be careful with that.


Brad: What’s long term considered?


Chris: Well, it’s going to be months of regular consistent use. Let’s say you have osteoarthritis, sometimes people get a lot of pain, it’s the wear and tear arthritis. As we age, it’s something that we would use for more than just your average bear because it doesn’t go away. We haven’t invented something to fix that yet. That way, I would see you for physical therapy to try and come up with other ways to go non-drug, but, in the short term we would like it. If you’re using it all the time, there are some risks to the stomach and kidneys. The other unique thing rather for people with ibuprofen, if you’re on blood thinners, it’s an absolute no-no. If you’re taking drugs like warfarin, Eliquis, Xarelto, Brilinta, Clopidogrel, these are all things that your pharmacist and doctor would tell you that you cannot use anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. It can be dangerous, it can cause the bleeding stroke. Three percent survivability on a worst-case scenario. Not an area we want to go in.


Brad: Right, that’s good information.


Chris: For pain and inflammation, it’s my favorite go-to for recommendation to patients. If I’m not checking off kidney problems, blood pressure problems, blood thinners or allergies, it’s my go-to choice. You’re going to come in to see your pharmacist or doctor and they’re going to tell you, “Yeah. Any problems? No, go through our list. Okay, why don’t we try some ibuprofen.”


Brad: As a rule of thumb, if someone has an acute problem, they use that 3-4 times a day. How many days in a row?


Chris: We would say up to seven. That’s kind of that benchmark. If you’re getting worse while you’re taking it or if you get to day seven and things haven’t improved, it’s time to contact your doctor. We must get the pros in there that can figure out the crux of the matter to ensure that we can get you back to well.


Brad: Right. In case there’s something else going on. It could be more serious.


Chris: Tough on the tummy. You always want to take with some food or at least a glass of milk.


Brad: Before or after?


Chris: I would have it after you eat. This way you have something in there and it’s not so much that it’s acidic and it’s going to burn a hole in your tummy, that's not what happens. It reduces prostaglandin, it slows down the absorption, helps your body to kind of pick it up and makes sure it’s minimally problematic.


Brad: If you eat something it’s fine.


Chris: A little something is how to take it.


Brad: And if you’re in a big hurry, I think you’ve told me you must at least have some milk.


Chris: Yes, and we’d like you to stay hydrated because it likes to go through the kidneys. We want to take care of that so people who have renal problems, it’s another thing that you must reduce the dose greatly or talk to your doctor if it’s even safe for you.


Brad: Okay. So, just drinking water.


Chris: Water is ideal.


Brad: What kind should you buy?


Chris: Anything that’s inexpensive is fine. The brand names are Advil and Motrin. Ibuprofen is always right next to it. Generic is fine.


Brad: If it says ibuprofen on it and some unusual name you haven’t heard of?


Chris: Two hundred milligram, you’re good.


Brad: It’s good.


Chris: There’s no reason to spend more for a shiny, prettier box. Just buy the cheap stuff, it works the same, your body doesn’t care what the name on the box is. It cares what it does in the body. That’s the important thing.


Brad: So, I think we hit everything. All right, thank you Chris.


Chris: You’re welcome. Have a good day!


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