The correlation between blood levels of ibuprofen and clinical analgesic response

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1986 Jul;40(1):1-7. doi: 10.1038/clpt.1986.129.


A clinical trial comparing ibuprofen, 400, 600, and 800 mg, with aluminum ibuprofen, 400 mg, and placebo was conducted in patients with moderate or severe pain subsequent to third molar extraction. Pain intensity ratings and ibuprofen serum levels were obtained at baseline, 30 minutes, 1 hour, and hourly thereafter for 3 hours. Pain intensity ratings were also obtained at hours 4, 5, and 6. Serum levels at 1, 2, and 3 hours correlated significantly with the log dose of ibuprofen (r = 0.35, 0.49, and 0.48, respectively) and with global analgesic response as measured by the percentage of the sum of the pain intensity scores (r = 0.28, 0.34, and 0.26, respectively). However, possibly because of differences in drug formulation, the percentage of the sum of the pain intensity scores did not correlate significantly with log dose. The highest correlations were found between contemporaneous serum levels and pain intensity difference values, particularly at hour 1 (r = 0.54). Our results support the proposition that increased ibuprofen serum levels lead to increased analgesia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / blood
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tooth Extraction


  • Ibuprofen