Can You Take Ibuprofen For A Sore Throat?

Everyone is familiar with sore throats and the level of pain that they bring. Sore throats are not only irritating; they can also make it difficult to swallow. Sore throats are most often caused by a virus such as a cold or flu, and they typically resolve on their own within 10 days (per Healthline). Depending on the person and the severity of their sore throat, that might not exactly be reassuring, but the good news is that you don't have to let your sore throat just run its course.

There are steps you can take to soothe your sore throat or make it go away faster. In particular, Mayo Clinic recommends resting, humidifying the air, gargling salt water, consuming warm liquids or cold treats such as ice pops, and enjoying lozenges or hard candy. If all else fails, you can alleviate your sore throat using pain medications such as ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen may be effective for sore throats

Results are mixed when it comes to the efficacy of ibuprofen for sore throats. A 1988 clinical trial published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics found ibuprofen to be more effective than Tylenol when it comes to soothing sore throats. However, a 2013 study published in BMJ Clinical Research did not support this finding.

Regardless, the American Family Physician recognizes ibuprofen as a viable treatment for sore throats and recommends calling your doctor if your sore throat remains for two days after starting pain medication. GoodRx Health advises starting with 200 mg to 400 mg every six to eight hours as needed, and adds that ibuprofen may alleviate sore throat pain by 32% to 80% within just a few hours.

According to, ibuprofen can help relieve inflammation and pain, but it may not be the right choice for everyone. The U.S. National Library of Medicine warns that most nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, may not be the best option for people who are at high risk of heart disease.