Ibuprofen For Children: Uses, Side Effects & Precautions

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Ibuprofen is a generic drug, readily available as an over-the-counter medication under brand names such as Advil and Motrin. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that relieves aches, pains, and inflammation and reduces fever (1). This post provides information about the safe use of Ibuprofen for kids, its side effects, and precautions.

In This Article

Is It Safe To Give Ibuprofen To Children?

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Ibuprofen in children above six months of age. The drug is commonly used for aches, pains, and fever in children and is considered safe. However, you should consult a pediatrician before giving the drug to your child to avoid any dosing error (2).

protip_icon Quick fact
Babies above three months and those who weigh at least or more than 5kg (11lb) can take ibuprofen under medical guidance (10).

What Are The Uses Of Ibuprofen In Children?

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Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory, analgesiciXMedicine used to relieve pain without blocking nerve impulses. , and antipyretic properties. It can provide pain relief and act as an inflammation reducer and fever reducer. It probably acts by restricting the synthesis of some chemicals in the body known as prostaglandinsiXA group of lipids that act like hormones and are formed when there is a cell membrane injury. . Ibuprofen is commonly used in children to manage and treat the following conditions (1) (3).

  • Mild to moderate pain such as headache, toothache, or sore throat
  • Fever due to cold or flu
  • Pain and swelling from injury or broken bones
  • Symptoms of juvenile arthritis
  • Primary dysmenorrhea (painful menses) in adolescent girls

What Is The Dosage Of Ibuprofen In Children?

Ibuprofen is available as a liquid, tablets, capsules, and granules of different strengths. The daily dose depends on the child’s age and body weight. It may also vary with the symptoms and underlying conditions. One dose may usually be given every six hours, and no more than four doses are recommended in 24 hours. You should consult a doctor to know the precise dose for your child.

The following dosage table may give you an idea of the dosage instructions of Ibuprofen for fever and pain but is not a substitute for a doctor’s prescription (4).

Weight in kilograms

Age

Ibuprofen infant drops (50mg/1.25ml)

Children’s liquid Ibuprofen (100mg/5ml)

Children’s Ibuprofen chewable tablets (50mg)

Junior strength Ibuprofen tablets (100mg)

Adult’s Ibuprofen tablets (200mg)

6-7kg

6-11 months

1.25ml

2.5ml

8-10kg

12-23 months

1.875ml

4ml

11-15kg

2-3 years

2.5ml

5ml

2 tablets

16-21kg

4-5 years

3.75ml

7.5ml

3 tablets

22-26kg

6-8 years

5ml

10ml

4 tablets

2 tablets

1 tablet

27-32kg

9-10 years

12.5ml

5 tablets

2 ½ tablets

1 tablet

33-43kg

11 years

15ml

6 tablets

3 tablets

1 ½ tablets

44kg or more

12 years or older

20ml

8 tablets

4 tablets

2 tablets

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Who Should Not Take Ibuprofen?

Ensuring the safety and efficacy of any children’s medicine before giving it to your child is vital. You should discuss the suitability of Ibuprofen with your healthcare provider if your child has the following conditions (5).

  • Past allergic reaction to Ibuprofen or other pain-relieving or fever-reducing medicine
  • Asthma
  • Liver or kidney problem
  • History of gastrointestinal bleeding or any condition that has increased risk of bleeding
  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitisiXA condition that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon and rectum leading to bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain.

What Are The Side Effects Of Ibuprofen In Children?

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Below are the common side effects of Ibuprofen (5).

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Nausea and vomiting

These side effects may be reduced by giving Ibuprofen with food. Consult your child’s doctor if they are severe or do not get resolved. It is crucial to emphasize that the utilization of pediatric medication must always be under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

Ibuprofen may cause adverse reactions in some cases, and it requires medical attention.

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  • Severe abdominal pain, vomiting with blood in it, and dark stools, indicating stomach ulcer
  • Lack of urine or blood in the urine
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Allergic reactions, causing skin rash, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and swelling in the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
  • Severe allergic reaction (Anaphylactic reaction)

What Are The Precautions To Be Taken When Using Ibuprofen?

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You must observe the following precautions when giving Ibuprofen to children (6).

  • Inform your child’s doctor about other medications your child is taking or has recently taken to avoid any drug interaction.
  • Give preference to Ibuprofen products meant for children to avoid accidental overdose.
  • Use the measuring cup or measuring tool provided with the liquid product for giving the correct dose every time. Shake well before pouring if the product is an oral suspension.
  • If your child misses a dose, do not give a double amount at the time of the next dose.
  • Do not exceed the dose or duration without checking with your child’s healthcare provider.
  • Consult a pediatrician right away if your child’s symptoms persist, become worse, or you observe any sign of side effects.
  • Keep medications out of children’s reach to prevent accidental ingestion.
protip_icon Be watchful
Do not use the medicine with other medications containing ibuprofen to avoid overdose (4).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if I give my child too much ibuprofen?

If children take ibuprofen in more quantities than the recommended dose, it may cause stomach pain and breathing difficulties, thus making them drowsy (7).

2. How quickly does children’s ibuprofen work?

Ibuprofen should start working after 20 to 30 minutes, and the pain should lessen by then (8). However, it could take an hour for some children.

3. Is 200mg ibuprofen safe for a child?

200mg of ibuprofen can be taken by seven to nine-year-olds a maximum of three times a day (9). However, if there are no results, the child should be taken to the doctor.

Short-term use of Ibuprofen in the correct dose is considered safe in children. Do not give the drug to febrile children with chickenpox (varicellaiXIt is commonly known as chickenpox and is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus resulting in itchy blisters on the skin. ) unless recommended by a doctor. It increases the risk of serious reactions. Try giving Ibuprofen with food if it causes an upset stomach. Avoid using other OTC products when giving Ibuprofen to children. Consult a doctor if you need to give your child Ibuprofen for more than 48 hours.

Infographic: When To Give And Not Give Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a common OTC drug with anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties. Therefore, it is used to manage symptoms of several conditions in children. The infographic below provides insights into conditions when ibuprofen can be given to children and some associated contraindications.

indications and contraindications for ibuprofen administration in children (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Ibuprofen is approved for use in children above six months of age. However, you may seek a pediatrician’s prescription for dosages.
  • This drug reduces swelling, mild, moderate fever, moderate headache, juvenile arthritis, and sore throat in children.
  • Children with asthma, a history of allergic reactions to pain relievers, kidney problems, and Crohn's diseaseiXA chronic condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, resulting in diarrhea, pain, and cramping. should not take Ibuprofen.


Understand the intricacies surrounding Ibuprofen (Brufen) – its applications, mechanics, administration, and potential repercussions. Acquire factual insights to empower your health-related decisions from the video below.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Ibuprofen dosing for children.
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000772.htm
  2. Motrin® (ibuprofen) Suspension.
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/019842s020lbl.pdf
  3. Vincent Trung H. Ngo and Tushar Bajaj; (2021); Ibuprofen.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542299/
  4. Ibuprofen Dosing Table for Fever and Pain.
    https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/medication-safety/Pages/Ibuprofen-for-Fever-and-Pain.aspx
  5. Ibuprofen for children.
    https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/ibuprofen-for-children/
  6. Ibuprofen.
    https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/medications/pediatric/ibuprofen
  7. Pain relief for children – paracetamol and ibuprofen.
    https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Pain_relief_for_children_-_Paracetamol_and_Ibuprofen/
  8. Ibuprofen – Children.
    https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/medicines/i/ibuprofen-children/
  9. How and when to give ibuprofen for children.
    https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/ibuprofen-for-children/how-and-when-to-give-ibuprofen-for-children/.
  10. Who can and cannot take ibuprofen for children
    https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/ibuprofen-for-children/who-can-and-cannot-take-ibuprofen-for-children/
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