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Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

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Topic Overview

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce fever and inflammation and relieve pain. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

Be sure to follow the nonprescription medicine precautions. Always take these medicines exactly as prescribed or according to the label.

Ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil)

  • Adults: The initial dose is 400 mg. Follow-up doses are 200 mg to 400 mg every 4 hours as needed, up to a maximum of 4 doses in a 24-hour period.
  • Children: Check with your child's doctor if your child is less than 6 months old or less than 12 pounds. Dosages are based on the child's weight. Give follow-up doses every 6 hours as needed, up to a maximum of 4 doses in a 24-hour period.
    • 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 dose for your child's weight
Child's weight in pounds (lb)Child's weight in kilograms (kg)Dose
Less than 12 lbLess than 6 kgAsk a doctor
12–17 lb7–8 kg50 mg
18–23 lb9–10 kg75 mg
24–35 lb11–16 kg100 mg
36–47 lb17–21 kg150 mg
48–59 lb22–27 kg200 mg
60–71 lb28–32 kg250 mg
72–95 lb33–43 kg300 mg
96 lb and above44 kg and aboveAdult dose

Naproxen (such as Aleve)

  • Adults: Initial dose is 440 mg. Follow-up doses are 220 mg every 8 to 12 hours as needed. Drink a full glass of water with each dose. Do not take more than 440 mg in any 8-hour to 12-hour period or 660 mg in a 24-hour period.
  • Adults older than 65: Do not take more than 220 mg every 12 hours unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Children: Do not give naproxen to children younger than 12 unless your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may prescribe naproxen for your child.

Side effects

The most common side effects of NSAIDs are stomach upset, heartburn, and nausea. To help prevent these side effects, take NSAIDs with food and a glass of water.

  • NSAIDs can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include hives, swelling of the face, wheezing, and shock. If you have any of these symptoms, call911or other emergency services immediately.
  • For safety, read the label carefully and do not take more than prescribed. Taking a larger dose or taking the medicine longer than recommended can increase your risk of dangerous side effects.
  • Do not use a nonprescription NSAID for longer than 10 days without talking to your doctor.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 23, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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