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Evid Based Nurs 8:10 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.1.10
  • Treatment

Review: no evidence exists that paracetamol and ibuprofen differ for short term pain relief or safety in children, but ibuprofen more effectively reduces fever

Ibuprofen v paracetamol for short term treatment of pain or fever in children*

Outcomes Number of trials (n) Weighted RR point estimate (95% CI)†
*RR  =  relative risk, CI  =  confidence interval.
†For pain, RRs>1 indicate a greater likelihood of achieving >50% maximum pain relief with ibuprofen than with paracetamol. For harm, RRs>1 indicate a greater likelihood of harm with ibuprofen than with paracetamol.
‡Not significant.
§An effect size of 0 represents equal effectiveness of the drugs for reducing fever; effect sizes >0 represent superiority of ibuprofen over paracetamol.
Pain relief at 2 hours 3 (186) 1.14 (0.82 to 1.58)‡
Pain relief at 4 hours 3 (186) 1.11 (0.89 to 1.38)‡
Minor harm at median 48 hours 17 (1820) 0.96 (0.68 to 1.36)‡
Major harm at median 48 hours 17 (1813) 1.00 (0.55 to 1.82)‡
Weighted effect size point estimate (CI)§
Fever reduction at 2 hours 10 (1078) 0.19 (0.05 to 0.33)
Fever reduction at 4 hours 10 (1078) 0.31 (0.19 to 0.44)
Fever reduction at 6 hours 10 (1078) 0.33 (0.19 to 0.47)

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