Ibuprofen Overdose

by on June 4, 2012

Normally the single dosage of ibuprofen (Advil & Motrin) varies between 200 and 400 mg. The intervals between the doses should be at least 4 hours. The maximum dose per day is 1200 mg.

You should never take more than 1200mg of ibuprofen per day for more than 4 days unless this has been prescribed to you by a doctor.

Toxic effects usually occur if the received dose is higher than 100mg/kg but toxicity is also possible in lower doses depending on a number of factors, such as the elapsed time, the usage of other drugs, accompanying diseases, age and the individual sensitivity to the drug. Ibuprofen should not be taken by children under the age of 12. Overdosing is not rare since ibuprofen is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter pain-killers.

The symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Central nervous system symptoms, such as headache, tinnitus(ear ringing), vertigo, dizziness, loss of consciousness
  • Seizures, especially in children
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Liver and kidney failure (characterized by production of too much or little urine)
  • Low blood pressure, unsteady, slow or fast heart rhythm and cardiac arrest
  • Breathing depression (characterized by unsteady or slow breathing, shortness of breath) and cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin)
  • Acidosis
  • Coma and death

What to do in case of an overdose:

In case of an overdose, immediately call the emergency health services. Vomiting can have some beneficial effect. However, it is no longer recommended because of the risk of seizures and possible suffocation. There is no specific antidote for ibuprofen poisoning.

Activated charcoal is used to absorb the drug in the stomach and to prevent it from entering the blood circulation. If the received dose is very high and life-threatening, a stomach lavage may be necessary. The renal function should be monitored. As ibuprofen is a weak acid and is excreted through the kidneys, forced alkaline dieresis may have a good effect. Alkalizing agents are also helpful in case of acidosis. The treatment is symptomatic and it is aimed at removal of the drug from the body and immediate resuscitation.

If the treatment is not delayed, there are good chances of recovery. Never take more than the recommended doses or the dose that has been prescribed to you by your doctor.