To stay healthy, it is key to take your medication properly. Knowing when, how, and how much medication you should take can differentiate between you getting better, or you getting worse. However, it seems that people tend to underestimate the effects medication can have on one’s body and health. Unfortunately, there is an increase in medication abuse, people not adhering to the proper dose or abusing medication to self-harm or overdose. So, to paint a clearer picture of the serious effects improper pill intake can have on our health, we’ll take a look at Advil.
Advil is a brand of ibuprofen, and it has been increasingly abused for numerous reasons. In the following paragraphs, we’ll see whether you can overdose on Advil, and which side effects an improper Advil dose can cause. So, let’s get started!
Advil Medication Overview
What Is Advil?
As mentioned in the introduction, Advil is a type of ibuprofen that is a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. Advil or ibuprofen are used to treat fever, inflammation, and mild pain, by reducing the hormones that cause the inflammation in the first place. Advil is also generally used to treat menstrual cramps, toothache, headache, back pain, minor injury, or arthritis.
How Does Advil Work?
Advil or ibuprofen work by blocking the production of a certain chemical in the body that are responsible for the pain or the inflammation. By blocking the production, ibuprofen reduces fever, inflammation, and relieves pain.
Note: Advil and ibuprofen can also work by increasing the risk of a heart attack and stroke in long-term heart disease patients. Advil or ibuprofen should NOT be used before or after a coronary artery bypass graft surgery, or CABG surgery. If one takes Advil after such surgery, there can occur stomach or intestinal bleeding, which can be in some cases fatal.
Who Should Or Shouldn’t Take Advil?
You should use Advil if;
- You are an adult
- You need to give medication to your child that is older than 6 months
- You experience headache
- You experience menstrual cramps
- You experience toothache
- You have a minor injury (like a sports injury, muscle strain, etc.)
- You experience back pain
- You have arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc.)
You should NOT take Advil if;
How Should One Take Advil/Ibuprofen?
Advil, ibuprofen, or any other medication for that matter should be used as directed on the label or as recommended/prescribed by your health care provider. No medication, Advil included, should be taken in higher doses to treat any condition, unless advised by the doctor.
The recommended dose for adults is 200mg every 4 to 6 hours. The highest amount of Advil or ibuprofen an adult should take is 800mg per one dose, or 3200mg per day, which amounts to 4 maximum daily doses. Advil should be taken with liquids and food, to lessen the negative effects on the stomach. The same applies to Advil tablets, liquid or oral suspension, as well as chewable tablets.
When it comes to children, the amount of Advil should be based on the weight of the child. It is essential to follow the dosing instructions of Advil for children older than 6 months, considering the weight of the child. If you’re not sure about the dose, make sure to consult with a health care provider or a pharmacist for detailed information.
Can You Overdose On Advil?
So, the short answer is YES, you can overdose on Advil. The overdose signs can occur at the highest Advil dose for adults, between 1200 mg and 3200mg. The signs of Advil acute overdose have been observed at 40x the maximum daily dose of ibuprofen. In case of overdose, it is important to seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What Are Advil Overdose Symptoms?
The overdose symptoms in the case of Advil or ibuprofen are the following;
- Extreme stomach pain and stomach upset
- Coughing up blood,
- Bloody or black stool
- Shallow breathing or gasping
- Fatigue and fainting
- Coma in worst-case scenarios
What Are General Advil Side Effects?
If the effects or allergic reactions or signs of a heart attack occur after taking Advil, make sure to get emergency medical help as soon as possible.
Signs of an allergic reaction to Advil are the following;
- Runny nose, frequent sneezing, or stuffy nose
- Trouble breathing and wheezing
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or lips
Signs of heart attack or stroke after taking Advil are the following;
- Striking chest pain in the middle or left side of the chest
- Chest pain spreading to the jaw or the left shoulder
- Numbness and weakness on the left side of the body
- Slurred speech
- Swelling of a leg
- Trouble breathing, or feeling short of breath
General side effects of Advil intake are;
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Changes in vision
- Skin rash (regardless of mild and localized, or serious and widespread), and itching
- Rapid weight gain
- Swelling of arms, legs, fingers, tongue, lips, throat, etc.
- Black or bloody stools, or clay-colored stool
- Coughing up blood
- Vomit that has the texture of coffee grounds
- Upper stomach pain
- Nausea, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Kidney issues, and issues with urination
- Skin reactions like skin pain, red and purple skin rash, blistering, peeling of the skin
Does Advil Interact With Other Medications?
While using Advil, one should avoid taking Aspirin. Taking both medications at the same time can result in a potential heart attack (Advil makes Aspirin less effective, especially if you’re taking it to prevent a heart attack in the first place). If your doctor, however, has prescribed both Advil and Aspirin, make sure to take them as following;
- You should take Advil, and 8 hours later, take Aspirin. Both medications need to be taken with liquid and food to avoid stomach upset.
- You can take Advil 30 minutes after taking non-enteric coated Aspirin.
When it comes to other medications, there are no available reports on interactions. Nevertheless, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider about taking Advil with another cold, pain, or allergy medications. Some over-the-counter medications may contain ibuprofen, so make sure to read the label and avoid taking both Advil and the ibuprofen-containing medication. This can result in an unaware increase in ibuprofen dose.
Note: Make sure to ask your doctor whether it is safe to take Advil while using antidepressants, blood thinners, blood pressure medications, steroid medicine, and drugs like Pemetrexed, Lithium, Cyclosporine, and Methotrexate. Make sure to also inquire about Advil possibly interacting with vitamin supplements, herbal products, and over-the-counter medications.
To reiterate, overdose using Advil is surely possible. However, it is not believed to be fatal and is usually prevented by one’s need to vomit as a result of upset stomach and nausea. However, if you do notice someone overusing Advil, or having any of the previously mentioned overdose symptoms, make sure to get emergency medical help right away. Before taking Advil, especially with other medications, make sure to talk to your health care provider who will know how Advil will affect your current health circumstances.