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Motrin vs. Advil Uses, Safety and Alternatives

Ibuprofen: Motrin vs. Advil

Motrin and Advil are the brand names of a generically known as ibuprofen. It is just one of many different forms of pain relieving, fever reducing medication you can purchase for illnesses such as muscle pain, headaches, cold and flu.

Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Other members of this class include aspirin and naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs work by preventing an enzyme called COX (cyclooxygenase) that is produced in response to injury or inflammation. The FDA approved ibuprofen in 1974.

There are many forms of ibuprofen, including tablets, chewable tablets, capsules, suspensions and oral drops. Different doses are prescribed for different problems. For example:

• For minor aches, mild to moderate pain, menstrual cramps and fever, the usual adult dose is 200 or 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours.

• Arthritis is treated with 300 to 800 mg 3 or 4 times daily.

• Children 6 months to 12 years of age are usually give 5 to 10 mg/kg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours for fever/pain with a maximum daily dose of 40 mg/kg.

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The maximum adult dose (unless otherwise directed by a physician) is 1.2 grams daily for no more than 10 days for pain or 3 days for fever.

The most common side effects from ibuprofen are rash, ringing in the ears, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn. Ibuprofen is NOT recommended during pregnancy, but appears to be safe while breastfeeding as it is not excreted in breast milk.

Ibuprofen carries some serious risks, including serious cardiovascular risk and gastrointestinal risk. NSAIDs may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke which may be increased the longer the drug is used. NSAIDs may also increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal events such as bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines which can be fatal.

Stop taking ibuprofen and get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat) or if you have chest pain, weakness, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance, black or bloody stools, coughing up blood, or urination that is less than usual.

Talk with your doctor before taking ibuprofen if you take any of these medications: ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics, lithium, methotrexate, Warfarin-type anticoagulants, or H2 Antagonists.

Learn how to store and dispose medications safely.
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Motrin.com (McNeil Consumer Healthcare)
Advil.com (Pfizer Corporation)
MedicineNet.com (a service of WebMD)
RxList (The Internet Drug Index)



We have three small children and rarely use pain or fewer relievers. Most doctors have suggested us to let common colds to run their course. I remember once I asked a doctor about using Motrin vs Tylenol or another pain reliever. He said it's a good idea to alternate them (unless specifically directed in certain cases, like during pregnancy). But again, please ask your doctor before making your decision on which one to use.