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Dosing charts for adult OTC pain relievers

Different OTC pain relievers have different doses, directions, and daily limits. To help ensure you’re using pain relievers appropriately, download and print these dosing charts for OTC NSAIDs and acetaminophen —and keep them wherever you store your medicines.

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Acetaminophen Adult Dosing Chart

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NSAIDS Adult Dosing Chart
Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen, Regular Strength For example TYLENOL® Regular Strength
AMOUNT 325 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 pill every 4 to 6 hours. If pain or fever does not respond to 1 pill, take 2 pills at the next dose
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 12 pills in 24 hours
Acetaminophen, Extra Strength For example TYLENOL® Extra Strength
AMOUNT 500 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 pill every 4 to 6 hours. If pain or fever does not respond to 1 pill, take 2 pills at the next dose
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 8 pills in 24 hours
Acetaminophen Extended Release For example TYLENOL® Arthritis Pain TYLENOL® Muscle Aches & Body Pain
AMOUNT 650 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
2 pills every 6 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 6 pills in 24 hours

* The maximum daily limit of acetaminophen is 4,000 mg
Do not take more than this amount in 24 hours

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
Ibuprofen 200 mg For example MOTRIN® Regular Strength Advil® Regular Strength
AMOUNT 200 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
MOTRIN® dosing: 1-2 pills every 4 to 6 hours
Advil® dosing: 1 pill every 4 hours or 2 pills every 6 to 8 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 6 pills in 24 hours
Ibuprofen 300 mg For example MOTRIN® Extra Strength
AMOUNT 300 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 pill every 4 to 6 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 4 pills in 24 hours
Ibuprofen 400 mg For example MOTRIN® Super Strength Advil® Extra Strength
AMOUNT 400 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
MOTRIN® dosing: 1 pill every 4 to 6 hours
Advil® dosing: 1 pill every 4 hours or 2 pills every 6 to 8 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 3 pills in 24 hours

*The maximum daily limit of ibuprofen is 1,200 mg
Do not take more than this amount in 24 hours

 
Naproxen Sodium For example Aleve® MOTRIMAX™ 12 HOUR
AMOUNT 220 mg per pill (Aleve®)
(Both Aleve® and MOTRIMAX™ 12 HOUR contain an equivalent of 200 mg of naproxen per pill)
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 pill every 8 to 12 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 2 pills in 24 hours

*The maximum daily limit of naproxen sodium is 440 mg
Do not take more than this amount in 24 hours

 
Acetylsalicylic Acid, Regular Strength For example Aspirin® Regular Strength
[For relief of pain and fever only]
AMOUNT 325 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1-2 pills every 4 to 6 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 12 pills in 24 hours
Acetylsalicylic Acid, Extra Strength For example Aspirin® Extra Strength
[For relief of pain and fever only]
AMOUNT 500 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1-2 pills every 4 to 6 hours
DAILY LIMIT* Do not take more than 8 pills in 24 hours

*The maximum daily limit of acetylsalicylic acid is 4,000 mg
Do not take more than this amount in 24 hours

What you can do to use OTC pain relievers responsibly

Take ONLY 1 medicine that contains the same kind of medicinal ingredient at a time. Why?

  • If you take more than 1 medicine that contains an NSAID, it can increase your risk of stomach bleeding

  • If you take Aspirin® (daily low dose ASA – 81 – 325 mg) for daily preventive therapy, ibuprofen may decrease that heart health benefit

  • If you take more than 1 medicine that contains acetaminophen, it increases your chance of taking too much, and that could cause serious or potentially fatal liver damage

Check your medicines. Hundreds of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines contain the same kind of medicinal ingredient.

Remember: It is important to always read and follow the label. If you have any questions or are unsure which pain reliever may be appropriate for you, talk with your healthcare professional.

Get your pain reliever dose right. Why?

If you take more medicine than the label says, you may increase your chance of experiencing serious side effects. To use OTC pain relievers responsibly:

  • Take only the dose directed on the label

  • Wait the right amount of time between doses

  • NEVER take more than the daily limit

  • If your pain lasts more than 5 days, stop taking the medicine and see a healthcare professional. It’s possible that the problem may need more attention, or a different treatment approach may be needed.