What You Should Know About Advil

Drug Maker Wyeth To Cut 30 Percent Of Sales Force CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 20: Advil pain medication is offered for sale at a pharmacy June 20, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Wyeth, the maker of Advil, recently announced plans to cut up to 30 percent of its sales force by the end of the year.
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Over-the-counter pain relievers, like Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen sodium) and Tylenol (acetaminophen), are presumed to be safe. Since they don't require a prescription, directions and warnings aren't always taken seriously. Before taking any medication, whether it is available over-the-counter or by prescription only, you should learn basic facts about the drug to ensure safe use.

What Is Advil?

Advil is a brand name, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is available over-the-counter. Each tablet contains 200 mg of ibuprofen. Generic ibuprofen is available, as well.

Indications for Advil

Advil is used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. Advil temporarily relieves minor aches and pains that occur with a headache, toothache, backache, menstrual cramps, the common cold, muscular aches, and minor arthritis pain.

Dosage Instructions for Advil

Directions for Advil state that adults and children 12 years old and over should take one tablet every 4 to 6 hours while symptoms persist. Two tablets can be taken together if one is not effective, but you should not exceed 6 tablets in 24 hours unless directed by a doctor. You should not take Advil for more than 10 days unless directed to do so by a doctor. Before giving Advil to children under 12 years old, consult your doctor.

Formulations of Advil

Advil comes in tablets, caplets, gelcaps, or liqui-gels. Advil Liqui-gels are a fast-acting formulation. The liqui-gels contain solubilized ibuprofen equal to 200 mg ibuprofen. Solubilized ibuprofen is ibuprofen that has been dissolved in a liquid center of a soft capsule. Your preference determines which formulation is best to buy.

Side Effects/Warnings for Advil

While Advil can be very effective, it is not without risks. Allergic reactions can occur in people who take ibuprofen. If you have an allergic reaction -- hives, facial swelling, asthma, skin rash, blisters, or shock -- stop taking Advil and seek emergency medical care.

Advil and other NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding. It's important to be aware of symptoms associated with stomach bleeding. If you experience signs or symptoms of bleeding, seek medical care. Ignoring signs of bleeding could be life-threatening.

If you have had any of the following problems or concerns, discuss Advil with your doctor or pharmacist before using the drug:

  • serious side effects from taking any pain reliever or fever reducer
  • problems with your stomach that are persistent or recur on a regular basis such as heartburn, stomach pain, or upset stomach
  • ulcers or bleeding problems
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • asthma

You should discuss Advil with your doctor before using it if you take a diuretic, blood thinner, aspirin, steroid, or other NSAID. You should actually discuss potential drug interaction with any other drugs you take just to be safe.

Advil can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. The risk increases with higher dosages or prolonged use of Advil. You should not take Advil just before or after having heart bypass surgery. Also, unless otherwise directed, pregnant women should not take Advil during their last trimester.

When taking Advil, the smallest effective dose should be used to minimize the potential for side effects. Your doctor will help you determine the right dose. Discuss any concerns you have about Advil with your doctor.

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