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Ibuprofen, NSAID users often exceed recommended dosages, study finds

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Boston — Nearly 1 out of 5 U.S. adults takes more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in one week, according to a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine.

Researchers examined weeklong online medical diaries of more than 1,300 people who reported taking ibuprofen in the preceding month. Analysis showed that 90 percent of participants took ibuprofen during the week of entries, while 37 percent also took non-ibuprofen NSAIDs.

The study revealed that those most likely to exceed the recommended dosage displayed the following characteristics: “ongoing pain, poor physical function, daily smoking, having the attitudes of ‘choosing my own dose’ and not starting with the lowest dose, and poor knowledge of the recommended one-time and 24-hour doses.”

NSAIDs may carry serious side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding and, in some cases, heart attacks, a BU press release states. The researchers suggest informing consumers about proper dosing directions to limit excess dosing.

“It is important to understand how many users exceed the maximum, how they do it and what characteristics are associated with overuse,” David Kaufman, lead study author and BU professor of epidemiology, said in the release. “This knowledge can help guide consumer interventions to promote safer use.”

The study was published online in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

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