Medical Specialty >> Pulmonology

Doctors Lounge - Pulmonology Answers

Back to Pulmonology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: How much advil for costochondritis?

 cjpett - Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:22 pm

Hi, I am a 25 yr old female and I've been having chest pain for the past few weeks. I'm 99% sure that I have costochondritis because I can feel the pain more intensely whenever I push on my ribs near my sternum. I've read from other questions in the forum that this can be treated with ibuprofen like advil, but my question is how much would be safe for me to take and for how long should I continue taking it? And how long does it usually take to go away? Also, is there anything else I should do or avoid to speed up the recovery?
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:59 am

User avatar Hi,

Certainly, NSAIDs(including ibuprofen) are used in the management of costochondritis, as an element of sterile inflammation is involved in its pathogenesis.

Recommended dosage schedules for the oral formulation are as follows.
The maximum amount of ibuprofen for adults is 800 milligrams per dose or 3200 mg per day (4 maximum doses).
For mild to moderate pain:
Adults and teenagers—400 milligrams (mg) every four to six hours, as needed.
For arthritic conditions (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis):
Adults and teenagers—1200 milligrams (mg) up to 3200 mg per day divided into three or four equal doses.

As to how long to continue taking it, my answer would be "as long as it is absolutely necessary, as determined by the treating clinician". Prolonged therapy may be necessary in case of certain arthritic conditions. This should be done only under medical supervision.

The other option available are the gel formulations of certain NSAIDs for topical application. Generally, topically applied gels containing NSAIDs do not appear to cause systemic (mainly gastrointestinal) side effects commonly seen with oral NSAIDs. They provide good levels of pain relief comparable to that of orally administered NSAIDs. Some studies indicate that they produce lower plasma levels compared to the oral route but, achieve higher concentrations in the underlying muscles and in the synovial fluid.

In the acute phase of rheumatological conditions, at least twice a day application is generally recommended for periods ranging from 7-10 days.Thereafter, it may be titrated according to the response.

In your case, as you have costochondritis and as the costal cartilages being quite superficial structures, topical gels may be a better option. Whichever formulation is used, the dosage should be titrated with the response.
Best wishes!

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us