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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 safely, 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
2 pills every 4 to 6 hours while symptoms last
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 10 pills in 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor
Acetaminophen extra strength for example Tylenol® Extra Strength
AMOUNT 500 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
2 pills every 6 hours while symptoms last
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 6 pills in 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor
Acetaminophen extended release for example Tylenol® 8HR Arthritis Pain
AMOUNT 650 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
2 pills every 8 hours
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 6 pills in 24 hours
NSAIDs
Ibuprofen for example Motrin® IB and Advil®
AMOUNT 200 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 pill every 4 to 6 hours while symptoms last (if pain or fever does not respond to 1 pill, 2 pills may be used)
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 6 pills in 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor
 
Naproxen sodium for example Aleve®
AMOUNT 220 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 pill every 8 to 12 hours while symptoms last (for the first dose, you may take 2 pills within the first hour)
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 2 pills in any 8 to 12 hour period. Do not take more than 3 pills in 24 hours
 
Aspirin low dose for example Bayer® Low Dose
AMOUNT 81 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
4 or 8 pills every 4 hours
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 48 pills in 24 hours
Aspirin regular strength for example Bayer® Regular Strength
AMOUNT 325 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 or 2 pills every 4 hours, or 3 pills every 6 hours
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 12 pills in 24 hours
Aspirin extra strength for example Bayer® Extra Strength
AMOUNT 500 mg per pill
DOSE &
FREQUENCY
1 or 2 pills every 4 to 6 hours
DAILY LIMIT Do not take more than 8 pills in 24 hours

What you can do to use OTC pain relievers safely

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

  • If you take more than 1 medicine that contains an NSAID, it increases your chance of stomach bleeding

  • If you take aspirin for heart attack or stroke,  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 harm your liver

Check your medicines. Hundreds of OTC and prescription medicines contain the same kind of active ingredient.

Directions are not just suggestions—they are meant to be followed. It is not safe to apply the dosing directions from one pain reliever to another.

Remember: It is important to always read and follow the label. If you have any questions or are unsure which pain reliever may be right 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 serious side effects. To use OTC pain relievers safely:

  • Take the dose directed on the label

  • Wait the right amount of time between doses

  • Don’t take more than the daily limit

  • If your pain lasts more than 10 days, stop taking the medicine and see your healthcare professional. It’s possible that the problem may need more attention, or a different treatment approach may be needed