How To Avoid Ibuprofen Poisoning
According to the National Capital Poison Center , your best defense against accidental overuse of ibuprofen is prevention:
Before taking ibuprofen, always review the front and back labels. Look for:
- The name of the drug to confirm that ibuprofen is the active ingredient you or your loved one is taking
- What form the drug is inliquid, tablet, gummies, suppository, or spray
- What the drug does not containchildren, for example, should never be given any medication with alcohol or aspirin in it, reports the NCPC
- What age range the medication is intended for
- Whether or not the medication is flavored – childrens medications are often made sweeter to make them more palatable, but this can dangerous if kids mistake flavored chewable tablets or gummies for candy
- Dosage information from the Drug Facts section on the labeling
- How much the container holds when its full
Knowing these details about an ibuprofen product helps you better understand how to safely use it, when not to use it, and how much medication has already been ingested.
After reading the label, take the smallest amount possible that will relieve your symptoms, and only take ibuprofen as long as you need it.
Dont Take More Than The Recommended Dosage
NSAID overuse isnt rare: A 2018 study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety revealed that 15 percent of adult users of ibuprofen exceed the maximum recommended dose of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs in a one-week period.
This was typically the result of taking too much of a single NSAID at one time, taking two different NSAIDs simultaneously, or failing to wait long enough before taking another dose. Overuse increases your risk of developing GI side effects from NSAIDs, so be sure to follow your doctors directions to the letter.
What To Do If You Experience An Ibuprofen Overdose
If you suspect an overdose and experience symptoms listed above, first and foremost, call the U.S Poison Control Center right away . Secondly, its a good idea to head to the emergency room so a health care provider can measure and monitor your vital signs and symptoms.
Likely, youll have your temperature, pulse, breathing rate and blood pressure taken, and you might be given laxatives or activated charcoal to help lower the level of ibuprofen in your body quickly. Laxatives can help your stomach and intestines empty more quickly, while activated charcoal binds to drugs and heavy metals in your bloodstream and pulls them out through urine. Both are most effective when you take them right away after an overdose, ideally within the first hour after ingesting the medication.
At the hospital, your doctor will make sure youre stable by securing your airways, your ability to breathe properly and checking that your circulation hasnt changed drastically . In some cases, sodium bicarbonate might be used to counter the effects of ibuprofen. While an ER visit will likely result in you recovering well and not experiencing any permanent damage if your case of toxicity isnt severe, avoiding an ibuprofen overdose in the first place is still the best way to make sure you dont deal with long-lasting side effects.
Also Check: How To Remove Gallbladder Stones
Can I Take 3 Tablets Of Ibuprofen At Once
It depends on the strength of the ibuprofen. If you are using 100 mg OTC ibuprofen tablets, it is safe to take 3 tablets at once to make up the total dose of 300 mg since the recommended dose is 200 to 400 mg orally every 4-6 hours as long as the maximum recommended daily dose of 1200 mg is not exceeded. However, if you are using prescription-strength ibuprofen such as the 800 mg tablet, then taking 3 of these tablets at once is not recommended because taking more than 800 mg of ibuprofen in a single dose can potentially cause both short-term and long-term side effects, even though the three of the 800 mg ibuprofen tablet make up a total dose of 2400 mg and it does not exceed the recommended total daily dose of 3200 mg.
Common Side Effects Of Tablets Capsules Granules And Liquid
These common side effects of ibuprofen taken by mouth happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help cope with them:
Make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Try not to drink too much alcohol. It’s important not to take any other medicines for pain to help with headaches. Talk to your doctor if the headaches last longer than a week or are severe.
If ibuprofen makes you feel dizzy, stop what you’re doing and sit or lie down until you feel better. Avoid coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. If the dizziness does not get better within a couple of days, speak to your pharmacist or doctor. Do not drive or ride a bike while you’re feeling dizzy.
Stick to simple meals. Do not eat rich or spicy food. Always take ibuprofen tablets, capsules, granules or liquid with a meal or snack or with a drink of milk.
Have small, frequent sips of water to avoid dehydration. Speak to a pharmacist if you have signs of dehydration, such as peeing less than usual or having dark, strong-smelling pee. Do not take any other medicines to treat vomiting without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor.
If you take contraceptive pills and you’re being sick, your contraception may not protect you from pregnancy. Check the pill packet for advice.
Try not to eat foods that cause wind . Eat smaller meals, eat and drink slowly, and exercise regularly. There are pharmacy medicines that can also help, such as charcoal tablets or simeticone.
Recommended Reading: Where Does Liver Cancer Spread
Other Complications And Risks
The most common complication from ibuprofen overdoses is metabolic acidosis, in which the body cannot eliminate acidic compounds from its blood and tissues.
The body breaks ibuprofen down into acidic compounds. When a person overdoses on it, the acidic compounds accumulate and can reduce the pH of the blood and body tissues. This makes the body more acidic.
Ibuprofen overdose can cause sudden kidney failure and seizures, which can affect the production and elimination of acidic compounds.
Metabolic acidosis can cause:
- a higher risk of irregular heartbeat
- altered delivery of oxygen through the bloodstream
- immune system impairment
A blood test can reveal a low platelet count following an overdose. Prothrombin time, which is the time it takes for the blood to clot, will also rise. This means that the bodys ability to form blood clots may be reduced.
It is vital for people to seek medical attention immediately if they believe they have ingested too much ibuprofen. In most cases, doctors can reverse the consequences of an ibuprofen overdose.
The emergency doctor will take a complete history of how much ibuprofen the person took and at what time.
It is also vital for the person to mention whether they took other substances with the ibuprofen. Knowing this will help the doctor determine the best treatment and how best to manage the overdose.
Stomach And Digestion Toxicity
One of the most common side effects of ibuprofen when a person takes it at recommended dosages is heartburn. When ibuprofen blocks the COX-1 receptors in the stomach, it can disrupt its protective layer.
People who take too much ibuprofen may experience side effects that range from stomach pain to severe bleeding in the digestive tract. The latter can occur within a few hours of an overdose.
Recommended Reading: Best Exercise To Tone Stomach
Assessing Your Likelihood Of Developing Gi Side Effects From Nsaids
For some arthritis patients, NSAIDs may not be an option because of other health issues.
Typically, if someone has a history of peptic ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, or Barretts esophagus, NSAIDs should be avoided, Dr. Bhana says. Anyone who is on blood thinners or will be undergoing surgery may need to avoid these medications as well, he adds, because the risk of life-threatening bleeding is significantly higher.
Other medications that may increase your risk of bleeding when taken with NSAIDs include low-dose aspirin , selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac and Paxil, and glucocorticoids.
If your doctor determines you shouldnt take oral NSAIDs, he or she may recommend other therapies for pain relief.
There are topical NSAIDs, such as diclofenac, that may be helpful for localized arthritic pain, Dr. Bhana. These have a low rate of systemic absorption and are safer for your stomach.
Non-NSAID analgesics such as acetaminophen may also be an option.
You Have Trouble Breathing Or Other Respiratory Complications
Excessive or prolonged use of ibuprofen can even wreak havoc on your respiratory system.
“In some patients, especially those with a history of asthma, NSAIDs can induce bronchospasm , rhinorrhea and nasal obstruction,” Dr. Linder says.
This goes back to the COX enzyme again. Inhibiting this enzyme leads to the increased release of leukotrienes in the lungs and nasal airways, which are substances that can potentially cause the closure of the airways,” Dr. Linder says.
Don’t Miss: How To Know If You Have Pancreatic Cancer
Talk With Your Doctor
Ibuprofen can be a safe and easy over-the-counter remedy for minor aches and pains. However, if you dont use it as recommended, ibuprofen can possibly be harmful.
Its always smart to talk to your doctor before taking ibuprofen if youre not sure if you should use it. If you experience bothersome side effects or believe you may have taken too much, contact your doctor right away.
Most of the serious side effects result from taking the drug when you shouldnt, taking too much of it, or taking it for too long. You can reduce your risk of side effects by using the smallest possible dose for shortest possible time.
Last medically reviewed on March 7, 2019
- Advil ibuprofen sodium tablet, coated. .
What To Expect At The Emergency Room
The health care provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive:
- Activated charcoal
- Airway support, including oxygen, breathing tube through the mouth , and breathing machine
- Blood and urine tests
- Tube through the mouth into the stomach and small intestine to identify and treat internal bleeding
- Fluids through a vein
Also Check: Burning Sensation In Stomach And Back
How An Ibuprofen Overdose Can Happen
When it comes to taking any medication whether a prescription or one thats available over-the-counter you always want to take the smallest amount possible that will help relieve your symptoms. In other words, more isnt better, and taking high doses can cause side effects that are worse than the pain and swelling you were experiencing to begin with.
In the case of ibuprofen, overdoses happen when someone either takes too much at one time or the body doesnt metabolize and eliminate the drug properly. Ibuprofen works in the body by blocking prostaglandins, which are sometimes called local hormones because they have effects in certain parts of the body instead of the whole thing. One of their jobs is to cause inflammation in an attempt to heal us from illnesses or injuries. When its needed, inflammation can be a good thing for helping us get better, but too much over a long period can do harm and cause ongoing diseases and pain.
Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins by blocking an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase. This is a good thing for stopping pain and swelling but can be problematic, too, because it also stops normal functions of the blood, heart and gut. Some people experience irritation of the gut lining, reduced blood clotting, changes in blood pressure and stomach irritation from ibuprofen.
Symptoms of ibuprofen overdose can include:
Related: White Willow Bark: The Natural Pain Reliever that Works Like Aspirin
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Managing ibuprofen overdose requires teamwork from healthcare professionals, including the emergency physician, intensivist, medical toxicologist or poison control center, pharmacist, and nursing staff. The emergency physician is responsible for the following:
Don’t Miss: Can Gallbladder Inflammation Be Cured
Many People Take Dangerously High Amounts Of Ibuprofen
By Lisa Rapaport, Reuters Health
4 Min Read
– Many adults who use ibuprofen and other so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs take too much, increasing their risk of serious side effects like internal bleeding and heart attacks, a U.S. study suggests.
About 15 percent of adults taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen , celecoxib , meloxicam and diclofenac exceeded the maximum recommended daily dose for these drugs, the study found.
NSAIDs are among the most commonly used medicines in the U.S. and worldwide, said lead study author Dr. David Kaufman of Boston University.
These drugs can have serious side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and heart attacks, and are often taken without medical oversight because many products are available over-the-counter, Kaufman said by email. The attitude that users can choose their own dose regardless of label directions, along with poor knowledge of dosing limits, is associated with exceeding the daily limit.
For the study, 1,326 people who reported taking ibuprofen in the previous month completed online medication diaries every day for one week.
All of the participants took ibuprofen during the diary week, and 87 percent of them only used over-the-counter, or nonprescription, versions, researchers report in Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety.
Overall, 55 percent of participants took ibuprofen at least three days during the week, and 16 percent took it every day.
Your Kidneys Arent Functioning Properly
“In the renal system, prostaglandins help regulate blood flow to the kidneys,” Dr. Linder says.
But, as we know, excessive ibuprofen use can interrupt the production of the COX enzyme and prostaglandins.
But here’s the thing: “With abnormal amounts of prostaglandins, the renal blood vessels constrict, leading to decreased blood flow and increased pressures,” Dr. Linder says. This can cause hypertension , electrolyte abnormalities and even go on to cause acute kidney failure.
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- In severe cases, seizures or coma
You May Like: How Much Cod Liver Oil Per Day
How To Safely Give Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medicine taken to relieve aches and pain and reduce fever. It’s a safe drug when used correctly. But too high a dose can make a child very sick. Giving too much can lead to stomach problems, confusion, and possible kidney problems. So it’s important to know how to properly give ibuprofen.
If you have any questions about giving ibuprofen to your child, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Never give this or any other kind of medicine to a child younger than 2 years old without getting a doctor’s OK first.
Central Nervous System Toxicity
If people take dosages greater than 400 mg/kg, they may experience central nervous systemdepression. This can cause loss of consciousness and coma.
Children may experience seizures and decreased consciousness from a massive overdose. Some children may even stop breathing.
Emergency doctors can reverse the central nervous system toxicities that occur due to an ibuprofen overdose.
Compared with NSAIDs such as diclofenac, mefenamic acid, and naproxen, ibuprofen overdoses have links with of central nervous system toxicities.
Recommended Reading: Best Supplements For Liver Health
Ibuprofen Side Effects And How To Avoid Them
Common ibuprofen side effects | Serious side effects | High blood pressure | Acute kidney injury | Stomach ulcers | Side effects timeline | Contraindications | Warnings | Interactions | How to avoid side effects | How to treat side effects
Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counterpain reliever and fever reducer that is safe for most adults, children, and infants to use for mild to moderate pain or fever. Widely available as a generic, ibuprofen is also instantly recognizable under the brand namesAdvil and Motrin. Healthcare providers may prescribe high-dose ibuprofencalled IBUfor juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and menstrual cramps. Ibuprofen belongs to a family of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These drugs block inflammation at the source by preventing the production of substances called prostaglandins, the chemicals responsible for swelling. NSAIDs like ibuprofen are very effective but can have unwanted side effects and drug interactions. Knowing what to expect can help keep problems at arms-length.
What Is A Safe Dose Of Ibuprofen
The recommended dose of ibuprofen is 200-400 mg by mouth every 4-6 hours as needed for pain or fever. The recommended maximum daily dose is 1200 mg for over-the-counter ibuprofen and 3200 mg for prescription-strength ibuprofen.In children, safe dosage of ibuprofen depends on the childs weight as well as the condition that is being treated. A doctor or pharmacist can help you determine the correct dosing for your child. It is not recommended to give ibuprofen to children under six months of age.
Also Check: Snacks For Pancreatic Cancer Patients
Safer Ways To Manage Pain
While popping a pain pill is a quick fix, as we’ve seen, it’s not a sustainable or healthy way to deal with chronic discomfort. Fortunately, there are other safer remedies available to help you handle prolonged pain issues.
“As always, if safe use of over-the-counter medications is not helping with discomfort or causing side effects, patients should contact a medical professional for further management,” Dr. Linder says. Together, you can come up with a plan to prevent and manage your pain.
Some alternative pain management strategies include, per Dr. Linder:
â1. Rest and recovery:â Sometimes the best medicine for an achy body is rest. For example, if you twisted your back or went too hard at the gym, giving yourself adequate time to recharge and recover is essential to the healing process .
â2. Activity modification:â A little tweak to your routine can result in big benefits for pain reduction. For instance, if you sit at a desk all day, try standing and stretching every half hour or so, which can help keep your muscles loose and back pain at bay. Conversely, if your job requires you to be on your feet frequently, take quick sitting breaks often and make sure to wear supportive shoes.