Martin A. Erickson III, RPh
Published Online: Saturday, April 1, 2006

Q: Do you have a formulation for topical ibuprofen gel?

A: Ibuprofen (20% or more) and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, notably ketoprofen 10% to 20%, are often used in topically applied preparations for the treatment of peripheral neuropathies. When a penetration enhancer such as isopropyl palmitate/lecithin (Lipoil, Gallipot) is included in the formulation, patients have reported improved relief of pain. Ketoprofen might be a better choice, with a lower concentration for a similar effect, but here is a formula for ibuprofen.


  1. Accurately weigh each of the ingredients.
  2. Reduce active ingredient to fine powder in ceramic or Wedgwood mortar with pestle.
  3. Dissolve/wet active ingredients in suitable solvent (ethanol or glycerin) to make thick paste.
  4. With trituration, add 24 mL of Lipoil in aliquots to material in step 3.
  5. Triturate until well-mixed.
  6. Add sufficient Polox gel to make final volume of 100 mL, and mix thoroughly.
  7. Package and label.


Preserve Polox gel 20% in refrigerator for liquid consistency. Store finished preparation at room temperature. No claims are made as to the use, safety, efficacy, or bioavailability of this product. The formula is for informational purposes only.

Mr. Erickson is director of professional affairs at Gallipot Inc.

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