Antipyretics: paracetamol and ibuprofen : what’s the difference?

Antipyretics: paracetamol and ibuprofen : what’s the difference?

When a child’s temperature rises above 38 °C, we administer an antipyretic medication. Learn which medication to pick and how to administer it. The decision is largely based on the illness’s underlying cause.

Photo by Victoria Akvarel on
  • Children are given paracetamol or ibuprofen as antipyretics and pain relievers.
  • Paracetamol has an antipyretic and analgesic effect.
  • Ibuprofen also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • – The first-line treatment is usually paracetamol, which can be taken regardless of the cause or age.
  • – Ibuprofen is not recommended in certain circumstances, such as acute diarrhea, chickenpox, or kidney disease.

Children are given one of two painkillers and antipyretics: paracetamol or ibuprofen (both are available under different names, but the active ingredients remain the same). They differ primarily in the mechanism of action.

Paracetamol or ibuprofen?

Paracetamol relieves pain and lowers fever. It works by affecting the central nervous system (i.e. it has the so-called central effect). Ibuprofen can also help with pain and swelling.

To put it simply, if a child has pain in their leg, both paracetamol and ibuprofen will help, but only ibuprofen will stop the inflammation from getting worse. Paracetamol is the drug of choice for babies and small children. It can be used for any pain or fever, no matter what caused it or how old the child is (as well as in pregnant and lactating women).

If the baby is already 3 months old and the doctor decides that the inflammation needs to be treated, he will give the baby ibuprofen. This medicine can also be used to treat inflammation that isn’t caused by an infection. This includes teething, growing pains in older children, migraines, and painful periods. But it is not a good choice for people with acute diarrhea, chickenpox, herpes zoster, mononucleosis, or kidney disease.



3rd Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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