The recommended starting ibuprofen dosage for most people with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis is 1200 mg to 3200 mg daily. This daily dosage is split up into several smaller doses throughout the day. For example, your ibuprofen dosing schedule may be one of the following:
- Ibuprofen 300 mg four times a day
- Ibuprofen 400 mg three or four times a day
- Ibuprofen 600 mg three or four times a day
- Ibuprofen 800 mg three or four times a day.
If pain persists for several weeks after starting a lower dosage, your healthcare provider may choose to increase your dose up to a maximum of 3200 mg per day. If pain still does not improve, your healthcare provider may recommend other options for pain relief.
It is important to take the lowest effective dosing for the least amount of time in order to treat your condition. This will decrease the chances of serious side effects occurring. Also, if you are taking ibuprofen to help relieve arthritis symptoms, such as joint inflammation, it may take one to two weeks for the drug to work to its full potential. However, ibuprofen helps to relieve pain in about one hour.
Some considerations for people taking ibuprofen include the following:
- If using over-the-counter ibuprofen products, you should follow the instructions on the label. Do not exceed the recommended over-the-counter dosing recommendations. Also, do not use ibuprofen for pain relief for more than 10 days -- or for more than 3 days for a fever -- unless your healthcare provider recommends doing so.
- You may take your dosage with a glass of water. Also, taking it with milk or food may prevent an upset stomach.
- For ibuprofen to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Ibuprofen will not work if you take it in a way other than how your healthcare provider prescribes.
- If you do not take your ibuprofen as scheduled, take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is close to the next scheduled dosage, skip the missed one and continue with normal dosing. Do not take double the dosage at one time or take it with other NSAIDs. It is generally okay to take ibuprofen with acetaminophen (Tylenol®).
- If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage of ibuprofen, please talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking ibuprofen without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.