MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Is taking 3 200 mg Ibuprofen pills same as taking 1 600 mg Ibuprofen pill?

Date: Wed Jan 21 21:28:09 2004
Posted By: Michael Maguire, Professor
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1071971559.Me

No difference whatsoever.  It's purely the total amount not the number or 
size of the pills.

The over-the-counter ibuprofen recommended dose is 2 X 200 mg.  However, 
the recommended dose for most uses, when ibuprofen was only by 
prescription, was 800 mg total or 4 X 200 mg.  The reason the drug 
companies do this is that it minimizes adverse effects and thus minimizes 
their liability.  However, because it's a lower than optimal dose, it's 
also less effective.  

Most drugs that were previously prescription and now are sold over the 
counter, are sold over the counter is a lower dose than the typical 
recommended prescription dose.  Not all such drugs, but most.  Again, it 
minimizes adverse effects even if it results in less effect.

Now all that said, I'd still at least start with the lower dose of 2 x 200 
mg and see if that's enough.  If not, it's safe, for SHORT TERM USE, to go 
to twice that dose.  Short term is defined at 2-3 days.  If you need that 
dose for longer than 2-3 days, see your doctor.

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