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Ibuprofen (Brufen, Nurofen)

Find out what ibuprofen is, how you have it and other important information about taking ibuprofen. 

Ibuprofen is a painkiller and is also known by the brand names Brufen and Nurofen. It is also part of many other painkiller combination medicines. 

Ibuprofen is an anti inflammation medicine (a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug or NSAID).

It is a treatment to relieve bone and muscle pain. You might have it together with stronger painkillers to give you the best pain relief. Ibuprofen can also bring a high temperature (fever) down. 

How it works

Ibuprofen controls pain by blocking messages to the brain that tell us we have pain. It also reduces swelling (inflammation) that presses on nerves. 

How you have it

Ibuprofen is a tablet, capsule or caplet that you take with a glass of water. It is important to have it with milk or food. Taking it on an empty stomach can irritate the stomach lining and might cause bleeding. 

Your doctor or nurse can prescribe ibuprofen for you or you can buy it over the counter. Check with your nurse or doctor before you start taking ibuprofen if you have a history of stomach ulcers, asthma or problems with your heart, kidneys or liver. 

Taking your tablets or capsules

You must take tablets and capsules according to the instructions your doctor or pharmacist gives you.

You should take the right dose, not more or less.

Never stop taking a cancer drug without talking to your specialist first.

When you have it

Your doctor or nurse will give you instructions about when to take ibuprofen and how much to have. The dose depends on the amount you need to control your pain. 

The usual dose for adults is 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours. This means you can take up to 2,400 mg a day, divided into 3 or 4 doses. You should not take more than 2,400 mg in 24 hours.

You need to check the packet to see how much ibuprofen each tablet or capsule contains. Usually they are either 200 mg or 400 mg, but 600 mg and 800 mg tablets are also available.  

Tests during treatment

You might have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your general health and might check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood.

Side effects

Important information

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.


Some ibuprofen products contain a type of sugar called sorbitol. If you have an intolerance to some sugars, ask your doctor if ibuprofen is safe for you to take. 


Ibuprofen can harm a baby developing in the womb. Do not take ibuprofen if you are in the last 3 months of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before taking ibuprofen if you are in the first 6 months of pregnancy. 


Women may find that while taking ibuprofen their ability to become pregnant is lowered. Talk to your doctor before starting ibuprofen if you think you want to have a baby. 

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Information and help

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