Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease. Medications that help initially may not help as your arthritis becomes more advanced, and it is frequently necessary to increase the dosage of ibuprofen as the arthritis progresses. The smallest effective dose should be used. Ibuprofen can be taken every four to six hours. Over-the-counter ibuprofen has as its limit 1,200 milligrams (mg) in 24 hours. The medication comes in 200 mg tablets, so the dosage is two tablets three times a day. Under the direction of a doctor, the dosage can be increased to 2,400 mg a day in three to four divided doses. It is important to remember that side effects may increase with the increase in dosage. Any sign of gastrointestinal bleeding or heartburn should be reported to your doctor and the drug discontinued.