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How to Safely Give Ibuprofen


Ibuprofen (eye-byoo-PRO-fen) is an over-the-counter medicine taken to relieve aches and pain and reduce fever. It's a safe drug when used correctly, but taking too much can make a child very sick. Overdosing can lead to stomach or intestinal problems. So it's important to know how to properly give the medicine.

If you have any questions about giving ibuprofen to your child, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Never give this medicine (or any other kind of medicine) to a child younger than 2 years old without getting a doctor's approval first.

What Is Ibuprofen Also Called?

Ibuprofen is the generic name for this drug. The most common brand names for ibuprofen in the United States are Advil® and Motrin®.

What Types are Available?

For kids, this medicine is available in oral suspensions (liquid form), chewables, and tablets. In some countries, rectal suppositories can be purchased over the counter under the name Nurofen®.

Advil® makes Infants Advil® Drops and Children's Advil® Suspension, as well as Jr. Strength Advil® Chewables and Jr. Strength Advil® Tablets. Motrin® makes Motrin® Infants' Drops and Children's Motrin® Oral Suspension. Other brands of ibuprofen are available in similar forms.

How to Give

When giving ibuprofen, refer to the following dosage charts for the correct dosage. To give:

Dosages By Weight

Doctors recommend using a child's weight instead of age when figuring out how much medicine to give. Before giving your child a dose, check the label to make sure the recommended dosage and concentration agree with the numbers below.

This table is based on doctors' and the manufacturers' recommendations and is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. If your child is 2 years old or younger, get the OK from your health care professional before giving the medicine. And always call if you have any questions or concerns about giving medicine.

Weight    Ibuprofen Infant Drops
   (50 mg/1.25 ml)
12-17 lbs.
(6-11 months)
   Ask your doctor
18-23 lbs.
(12-23 months)
   Ask your doctor

Weight   Ibuprofen Children's Liquid
   (100 mg/5 ml)
12-17 lbs.
(6-11 months)
   Ask your doctor
18-23 lbs.
(12-23 months)
   Ask your doctor
24-35 lbs.
(2-3 years)
   1 teaspoon (5 ml)
36-47 lbs.
(4-5 years)
   1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml)
48-59 lbs.
(6-8 years)
   2 teaspoons (10 ml)
60-71 lbs.
(9-10 years)
   2½ teaspoons (12.5 ml)
72-95 lbs.
(11 years)
   3 teaspoons (15 ml)

 

Weight      Ibuprofen Jr. Strength Chewables
     (100 mg)
24-35 lbs.
(2-3 years)
     Not recommended
36-47 lbs.
(4-5 years)
     Not recommended
48-59 lbs.
(6-8 years)
     2 tablets
60-71 lbs.
(9-10 years)
     2½ tablets
72-95 lbs.
(11 years)
     3 tablets

Date reviewed: March 2015


Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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