How Long Does Ibuprofen Stay In Your System

Ibuprofen is a medication known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is mainly used to manage pain in the body and to reduce fevers and inflammation in the body. It is a common medication that can be obtained over the counter or through a prescription from your doctor (usually in higher milligrams). Ibuprofen is safe to use in most adults and even in children as young as six-months-old.

Like most medications, ibuprofen is absorbed into the body and can be detected if present during any kind of drug test. If this is a concern, you may be wondering how long does ibuprofen stay in your system? Here, you’ll find out the particulars of that as well as useful information about the medication itself.


What Is Ibuprofen?

If you’ve ever been treated for pain or a fever by a doctor or self-medicated with over-the-counter medications from your local pharmacy, you’ve probably taken ibuprofen multiple times before. You’re at least somewhat familiar with it if you haven’t taken it yourself. Usually, the medication is taken to reduce fevers and treat pain. It’s commonly used to treat:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Toothaches
  • Back pain
  • General muscle pain
  • Arthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Minor injuries

It is usually taken by mouth but if you’re in the hospital it may be given to you intravenously. Ibuprofen is an effective medication that usually begins working in as little as one hour and is considered to be relatively safe. Other NSAIDs have a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding but this is why ibuprofen is the more popular choice. It has some side effects but doesn’t cause this type of bleeding.

The most common side effects are heartburn and skin rashes but it can also increase your risk of kidney failure, liver failure, stroke, or heart failure. However, at lower doses, these effects are almost nonexistent. If you have asthma, ibuprofen might exacerbate it. It’s also considered unsafe during late-term pregnancies.

Before you take ibuprofen or before your doctor prescribes it, discuss contraindications that may make ibuprofen a bad choice for you. Don’t take this medication if you’ve just had or are about to have any type of heart surgery. You may also want to steer clear of this medication if you have a history of heart disease or stroke.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of ibuprofen if you have any of the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • History or stroke/blood clots
  • Stomach ulcers/bleeding
  • Liver/kidney disease
  • Chronic fluid retention
  • Marfan syndrome/Sjogren’s syndrome/lupus

Once it’s been determined that you can safely use ibuprofen, you must use it exactly as intended. If you are being prescribed it by your doctor, be sure to follow all of his/her directions and take it only as they describe. If you’re taking the over-the-counter version of the drug, follow the pharmacist’s directions or the directions on the package. Do not increase the dose on your own and do not take more than the daily recommended amount.

In general, the maximum dose of ibuprofen for an adult is an 800mg single-dose with a daily maximum of 3,200mg. For children, the maximum dose is based on their weight as well as their age. Follow children’s dosing directions carefully to prevent harmful overdose effects. Most people only need to take ibuprofen as needed but if you were put on a dosing schedule and you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember if there is time before your next dose.

If it is too close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on schedule. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention. Signs of an overdose can be severe drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, black/bloody stools, shallow breathing, fainting, coma, or coughing up blood.

Ibuprofen can come in oral suspensions, chewable tablets, or normal tablets. It’s best to take the medication with food or with milk instead of water in order to prevent stomach irritation. If taking the liquid medicine, measure out the dose in a syringe, spoon, or cup (depending on what came with the medication) and drink all of it. For the chewable tablets, chew the whole tablet and swallow it. Normal tablets can be swallowed with a full glass or water or milk. When not in use, store the medication at room temperature.

When taking ibuprofen, do not drink alcohol or take over-the-count aspirins. If you have to take ibuprofen and aspirin at the same time, take the ibuprofen 30 minutes after the aspirin. Avoid any cold/allergy medication or additional pain medicine.

Ibuprofen is a gentle medication with limited side effects but those allergic to it may experience wheezing/trouble breathing, sneezing, hives, swelling of the face/tongue/throat, runny or stuffy nose. In some instances, the medicine may cause a heart attack or stroke. Seek emergency help if experiencing chest pains with radiating pain to the jaw or shoulder, weakness, numbness on one side of the body, shortness of breath, or slurred speech.

There are some common side effects that you may expect when taking ibuprofen. Some of these are:

  • Mild heartburn
  • Light nausea/vomiting
  • Mild stomach irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Nervous/anxious feelings
  • Weight gain/swelling
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Bloating/gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Slight rash/itching
  • Acute tinnitus
  • Vision changes/burning eyes
  • Flu-like symptom
  • Difficulty urinating

If you are experiencing any side effect that seems worrisome to you, contact your doctor or seek emergency help immediately.

How Long Does Ibuprofen Stay In Your System

If you have been taking ibuprofen continuously or is you’ve been abusing ibuprofen you might be asking the question “how long does ibuprofen stay in your system?” This question can be especially important if you’re taking a drug test and are worried about the medication being detected in your system.

Normally, the amount of time ibuprofen stays in your system has to do with different factors like your weight, how much medication you’ve had, and your gender. However, some generalizations can be made about how long ibuprofen lasts in the body.

The medication is metabolized quickly in most cases and is expelled through urination quickly, too. For those reasons, ibuprofen usually stays in your system for only 24 hours. Since the drug metabolizes so quickly, there have been no reports made about the duration the medication stays in your urine, blood or hair for purposes of drug tests. Since it is absorbed into the body so fast and eliminated quickly, it is believed that the medicine won’t be detectable after a full day.


Hopefully, the information provided here told you a little more about this common pain medication and helped you answer the question of how long does ibuprofen stay in your system. Be sure to always seek professional medical advice for more thorough and individualized information on any medication you’re considering taking.

Anna Smith

Hi there ! I’m Anna Smith, chief editor at Healthankering. I'm a proud mother of three passionate about health tips, beauty and ways to live healthier with more energy ! We start Healthankering to provide advanced material about not only the best ways to get healthy, but also to entertain and create a great community. Welcome aboard !

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: