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When should I take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

Keep a bottle of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) in your medicine cabinet for muscle aches, joint pains, tooth pain, postoperative pain, menstrual cramps, headaches, and fevers. This is a go-to drug for many minor maladies, but you must use it with caution.


For chronic problems such as arthritis, longer-acting preparations may be more appropriate.


Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, NSAID for short. Many people pop NSAIDs like candy -- not a good idea. Doctors may prescribe ibuprofen at higher doses than the over-the-counter label recommends, but that is for acute, short-lived problems. Taking NSAIDS at high doses can be a danger to your kidneys. Do not use these daily for extended periods without consulting your physician.


Also, be aware that NSAIDs can cause fluid retention, which may raise your blood pressure, and they can irritate the stomach lining (leading to ulcers).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.