High-Dose Ibuprofen: Do Not Lie Down?

A friend of mine has been prescribed high-dose ibuprofen for inflamation and muscle pain. I think it’s a 600mg dose.

The prescription bottle includes the instruction “Do not lie down for 30 minutes after taking,” or words to that effect. This is a problem when she’s having trouble sleeping because of the muscle pain, decides to take one, and then realizes - “Oh Crap!” - that she isn’t supposed to go back to bed for a while.

Anyone know why? It’s easy enough to find basic info on ibuprofen, including side-effects, but none of the side effects make me say “Aha! So that’s why you’re not supposed to lie down!”

Simple! Ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining, but if taken with water, even a high dosage shouldn’t have that effect unless you’re super sensitive. If, however, the pill doesn’t make it to the stomach before you go horizontal, then instead of gravity taking it more-or-less down the centerline of your esophagus, peristalsis (muscle action) will have to do it. The much-more-sensitive lining of your esophagus will then be the part of your body that “handles” the pill, and the strength of the pill could cause anything from mild discomfort to extremely sharp pains (which could be misdiagnosed as something severe).

Wait 30 minutes and the pill lands in your tummy safe and sound. No worries.


Food, pills, water, etc. go straightway to the stomach unless hindered by a hieatal hernia or other obstruction. You sit up at least 30 minutes for the water and dissolved medication to pass into the small intestines. No suchproblem with enteric coated medications.