Does Ibuprofen Show Up in a Urine Drug Test? (Fact-Based)

A jar of medicine tablets and a glass of water

Urine testing is the most common form of drug testing, but it can produce false positives and negatives for certain drugs and substances.

It happened to me when I took a drug test, and the results came out as a false positive, although I was only taking painkillers.

A false positive can result from a laboratory error, but certain medications often cause a false positive result. 

In this article, we will talk about how one of the most commonly used painkillers, Ibuprofen, can cause a false positive drug test.

Quick Summary

  • Alternatives to Ibuprofen, such as aspirin and acetaminophen, don’t cause false positives and are safe to take before a drug test.
  • A false-positive test will show up if a person uses between 800 and 1200 milligrams per day of Ibuprofen.
  • You must take additional confirmatory tests to identify whether the initial positive result is genuine or a false positive.

What is Ibuprofen?

A hand holding three packs of pillsIbuprofen is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief. 

It has the potential to result in a positive drug test for marijuana, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates. 

You should know that Ibuprofen is not tested for; it is legal and requires no prescription. However, if used in large amounts, it can cause a false positive to appear on a drug test.

It is believed that 12,000 mg of Ibuprofen may interfere with the enzyme often used in the testing procedure. Ibuprofen belongs to the class of painkillers known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) [1].

Any NSAID can cause a false positive. Ibuprofen substitutes like aspirin and acetaminophen don’t have the same impact and are okay to use before a drug test.

Ibuprofen is available in various places, including pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, and supermarkets, with or without a prescription. Ibuprofen can be consumed orally as a syrup or tablet. You can also use it as a mousse, gel, or spray to apply it to the skin.

It is used to treat:

  • Fever
  • Inflammation
  • Headache
  • Menstrual Pain
  • The Common Cold
  • Toothache
  • Back Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sprains

Ibuprofen is a component of some medications, such as decongestants, to make, for instance, a combined cold and flu remedy.

It is also included in other products that contain opioids, like oxycodone. Only short-term use is permitted because they have the potential to be abused.

Does Ibuprofen Show Up on Urine Drug Tests?

A woman sitting while drinking waterIbuprofen can show up in urine drug tests as a false positive.

It has the potential to result in a positive drug test for Phencyclidine (PCP), THC (marijuana/cannabinoids), and barbiturates.

An incorrect positive result will appear if a person’s daily usage is between 800 and 1200 milligrams.

These drug users may show positive for marijuana usage in the IA test when they haven’t used the drug.

Additional confirmatory tests, such as high-performance liquid chromatography and GC-SM tests, are necessary to determine if the initial positive result is real or false.

Also Read: Do Drugs Show Up in Blood Tests?

How Long Will Ibuprofen Show Up on a Drug Test?

A nurse holding a clock and medicines

Ibuprofen can show up on a drug test 1.8 to two hours after consumption due to its half-life.

Its effects will last from 4 to 6 hours, and most people will have completely cleared Ibuprofen from their systems after 24 hours.

“Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including Ibuprofen and naproxen), as well as proton pump inhibitors (pantoprazole), have been reported to cause false positives on urine drug screens. This is especially important because these patients may well be using these classes of medications to ameliorate their symptoms.”
Peter E. Wu, Consultant, Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology

Ibuprofen’s half-lives can vary, at least a little, in how long it takes for a person’s body to get rid of it.

For me, it took around 4 hours, but for others, Ibuprofen’s duration of absorption in their body might depend on several factors, such as:

  • Weight
  • Body fat
  • Metabolism
  • Liver and kidney function
  • How long has someone been taking it
  • Dosage used
  • Medical conditions/overall health
  • Other medications or substances used
  • Usage of alcohol

Related Articles:


How Much Ibuprofen Can Cause a False Positive Drug Test?

800 and 1200 milligrams of Ibuprofen can cause a false positive drug test.

How Can I Flush Ibuprofen out of My System Fast?

You can flush Ibuprofen out of your system fast by ingesting high amounts of water or juice.

How Long Do the Effects of Ibuprofen Last?

Ibuprofen’s effects last from 1 to 4 hours after your last dose, but this may vary based on other factors such as body weight, age, and frequency of consumption.

Can Ibuprofen Cause a False Positive for Amphetamines?

Yes, Ibuprofen can cause a false positive for amphetamines, especially if taken in large doses.

Do You Want to Avoid a False Positive Test?

It is possible for urine drug testing to produce false positive findings. A false positive occurs when a drug test detects a drug or substance you didn’t consume. 

Ibuprofen consumption before a urine drug test may have this result. That is why I would recommend that you consume a detox drink in order to help flush the toxins out. 

After trying several of them, I suggest you try the Clear Choice Rescue Cleanse detox drink. I tried it before taking a urine test to flush out all the Ibuprofen, and it worked wonderfully. It relies on natural components to assist the body in eliminating some of the typical toxins detected during a drug test. 



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