Comparison of #Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) With #Ibuprofen for Treatment of Fever or Pain in Children Younger Than 2 Years

Acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen are the most widely prescribed and available over-the-counter medications for management of fever and pain in children. Despite the common use of these medications, treatment recommendations for young children remain divergent..

..Overall, 19 studies (11 randomized; 8 nonrandomized) of 241 138 participants from 7 countries and various health care settings (hospital-based and community-based) were included. Compared with acetaminophen, ibuprofen resulted in reduced temperature at less than 4 hours (4 studies with 435 participants; standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.38; 95% CI, 0.08-0.67; P = .01; I2 = 49%; moderate quality evidence) and at 4 to 24 hours (5 studies with 879 participants; SMD, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.03-0.45; P = .03; I2 = 57%; moderate-quality evidence) and less pain at 4 to 24 hours (2 studies with 535 participants; SMD, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.03-0.37; P = .02; I2 = 25%; moderate-quality evidence).

Adverse events were uncommon. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen appeared to have similar serious adverse event profiles (7 studies with 27 932 participants; ibuprofen vs aceteminophen: odds ratio, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.87-1.33; P = .50, I2 = 0%; moderate-quality evidence).

Conclusions and Relevance In this study, use of ibuprofen vs acetaminophen for the treatment of fever or pain in children younger than 2 years was associated with reduced temperature and less pain within the first 24 hours of treatment, with equivalent safety.

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