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Research finds 15% of NSAID users exceed daily limits in a one-week period

Researchers discovered that 15 percent of adults who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – such as ibuprofen and others – went beyond the recommended dosage in a one-week period. The study, published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, studied whether it was common for people to surpass their daily limit of NSAIDs, as well as to distinguish patterns such as dosage and other characteristics among people taking ibuprofen.

  • The research utilized an online, one-week diary study of 1,326 people who took ibuprofen. In this study, respondents recorded how much ibuprofen did they take for each hour. The data gathered was analyzed afterward to determine deviations from dosing directions.
  • An exit survey then collected information such as demographics, medical history, physical and mental health status, as well as their attitudes on reading the label and dosing behavior, and their knowledge on product label instructions.
  • The researchers found out that during the week, 90 percent of diary users had over-the-counter ibuprofen, while 37 percent also took non-ibuprofen NSAIDs. Most of the respondents did not know that the items are NSAIDs.
  • There was 11 percent that exceeded the daily limit of ibuprofen, and four percent went over their daily dosage for other NSAIDs. People who exceeded the usage days of NSAIDs were at 9.1 percent.
  • The findings pointed out the going over the daily dosing directions happened in medications that required one-pill doses. People who exceeded the dosage were male, had ongoing pain, were not in great shape physically, and smoked daily. They also had a mentality that they “choose their own dosage,” did not start with the lowest dosage, and had limited knowledge of the recommended one-hour and 24-hour doses.

While the incidence of exceeding the daily dosage is significant, researchers believe this is linked to factors that can be modified.

Journal Reference:

Kaufman DW, Kelly JP, Battista DR, Malone MK, Weinstein RB, Shiffman S. EXCEEDING THE DAILY DOSING LIMIT OF NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS AMONG IBUPROFEN USERS. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. 2018. DOI:

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