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Ibuprofen Use in Young Children

Topic Overview

Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation. If your child is allergic to aspirin, do not give him or her ibuprofen.

Be sure to follow these medicine precautions:

  • Follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to your baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give.
  • For children younger than 6 months of age, follow what your doctor has told you about the amount to give.
  • Talk to your doctor before you give medicine to reduce a fever in a baby who is 3 months of age or younger. This is to make sure a young baby's fever is not a sign of a serious illness. The exception is if your baby has just had an immunization. Fevers sometimes occur as a reaction to immunizations. After immunizations, you can give your baby medicine to reduce a fever.
  • Ibuprofen comes in liquid, tablets, caplets, or concentrated drops. Read and follow all the instructions on the medicine bottle and box carefully before giving your child any medicine. There are different products and strengths for infants and children. The correct dose and timing of the dose are important for the medicine to work well.
  • Do not alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen because of the possible risk of overdose. Studies have not shown any more benefit from alternating these medicines.
  • If you are giving your child ibuprofen for fever or pain, don't also give your child a cold or flu medicine that contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Your child could get too much medicine.

Dosage: Dosages are based on the child's weight. Give the medicine every 6 hours. Do not give more than 4 doses in a 24-hour period.

Ibuprofen dose for your child's weight
Child's weight in pounds (lb) Child's weight in kilograms (kg) Dose in milligrams (mg)
Less than 12 lb Less than 6 kg Ask a doctor
12–17 lb 7–8 kg 50 mg
18–23 lb 9–10 kg 75 mg
24–35 lb 11–16 kg 100 mg
36–47 lb 17–21 kg 150 mg
48–59 lb 22–27 kg 200 mg
60–71 lb 28–32 kg 250 mg
72–95 lb 33–43 kg 300 mg
96 lb and above 44 kg and above Adult dose

Side effects of ibuprofen are usually mild. Stomach upset or discomfort is the most common side effect. Taking ibuprofen with food may help.

Do not give your child ibuprofen if he or she has any of the following:

  • History of gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Allergic reactions to aspirin or related drugs
  • Anemia
  • Blood-clotting defect

Do not give your child ibuprofen if he or she is taking any of the following medicines:

  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants)
  • Corticosteroids (such as prednisone)

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised September 13, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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