How Long Does Advil (Ibuprofen) Stay In Your System?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how long Advil (ibuprofen) lasts in your system.

Question

About how long does Advil stay in your system? I am just looking to avoid drug interactions. Thanks!

Asked by Samantha On Sep 11, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Sep 11, 2022
Last updated Jul 24, 2024

Key points

  • Advil (ibuprofen) has a relatively short half-life (time it takes to metabolize 50% of a drug) of 2 to 4 hours.
  • For most individuals, ibuprofen will be completely metabolized and eliminated from your system with 12 to 24 hours.

Answer

Advil (ibuprofen) is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that is available over the counter (200 mg) and as a prescription (400 mg, 600 mg, and 800 mg) for the treatment of mild to moderate pain and associated conditions.

For most individuals, it will be completely eliminated from your system within 12-24 hours, although several factors, such as age and liver function, influence this time frame.

Ibuprofen Characteristics

Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in Advil and Motrin. it is also available generically simply as 'ibuprofen'.

The half-life of a given drug is usually a pretty reliable indicator of how long it lasts in our system. The 'half-life' refers to the time it takes to metabolize 50% of a drug. In most cases, a drug is completely eliminated within 5 to 6 half-lives.

The half-life of ibuprofen is around 2 to 4 hours, which means that it will be eliminated within 12-24 hours for most individuals.

Factors That Influence Advil Metabolism

As stated above, there are a few factors that influence ibuprofen's half-life:

  • Age
  • Liver function

Age

Ibuprofen is metabolized and eliminated faster in pediatric patients compared to adults. The prescribing information for one ibuprofen product (Caldolor) reports a half-life of around 1.5 to 1.8 hours in children and adolescents. This means that it will be completely eliminated in around 12 hours for this age group.

Liver Function

The half-life of ibuprofen is significantly prolonged in individuals with liver impairment with most studies specifically referring to cirrhosis. It has been reported that in patients with cirrhosis, the half-life can increase by over 50%.

Additional Information

It should be noted that while ibuprofen lasts in your system for 12-24 hours for most, the actual duration of action is far shorter.

After taking a dose by mouth, peak concentrations of the drug are reached (on average) in:

  • 120 minutes for tablets
  • 62 minutes for chewable tablets
  • 47 minutes for liquids (e.g. suspensions)

The typical duration of action is 4 to 6 hours for most individuals. For this reason, ibuprofen is recommended to be dosed every 4 to 6 hours.

Final Words

Thanks so much for reaching out!

References

  • Ibuprofen Monograph, AccessFDA
  • Motrin Monograph, AccessFDA
  • Enantiospecific effects of cytochrome P450 2C9 amino acid variants on ibuprofen pharmacokinetics and on the inhibition of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2, PubMed
  • Pharmacokinetics 101, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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