Ibuprofen: An Injured Child’s Best Friend

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When a child is hurt, parents want to do anything to ease his pain. But often they don’t know what the best course of action is, or what type of pain medication will work best. Of three well-known analgesics, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and codeine, which one, if any, is best for children?

Ibuprofen found in over-the-counter Advil and Motrin was more effective than other two competitors in relieving children’s pain from musculoskeletal injuries to extremities, the neck, and the back, a new Canadian study published in the March Issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers came to the conclusion after they compared ibuprofen with acetaminophen – an active ingredient found in Tylenol and codeine at an equivalent OTC dose in children admitted into an emergency department.

“No one had done comparison studies on the pain medications we use [on children] shift after shift,” Dr. Eric Clark, the lead author and an emergency medicine doctor at the University of Ottawa School of Medicine was quoted as saying by

Clark said some doctors have actually used ibuprofen more frequently than other two painkillers, but this study justified such a preference.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 15 mg/kg acetaminophen, 10 mg/kg ibuprofen, or 1 mg/kg codeine to 330 children aged 6 to 17 admitted to the emergency department of the Children’s Hospital department of Eastern Ontario with pain from a musculoskeletal injury that occurred 48 hours before admission into the hospital.

Children’s pain at the time of admission and at 60 minutes after treatment was evaluated on a pain scale ranging from 1 to 100 and then compared. 300 children were randomly selected for an analysis.

The researchers found that children in the ibuprofen group had a significantly greater improvement in pain score (pain score decreased by 24 mm) than those in the codeine (11mm) and acetaminophen (12mm).

Additionally at 60 minutes, more children receiving ibuprofen achieved adequate analgesia as defined by a visual analog scale less than 30 mm than other two groups.

There was no significant difference between acetaminophen and codeine in change in pain score at any time or in the number of children experiencing adequate analgesia.

Click for Dose of ibuprofen in chieldren and what parents need to know about ibuprofen

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