Objective: To evaluate the antipyretic effects and safety of ibuprofen compared with acetaminophen in febrile children.
Data sources: Searches of MEDLINE (1966-November 2003) and EMBASE (1988-November 2003) were conducted using the terms ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Bibliographies of selected articles were reviewed.
Data synthesis: Ibuprofen was significantly more effective than acetaminophen in reducing fever after a single dose. Ibuprofen was found to be more effective after 6 hours, but not after a longer period of time. Studies with multiple doses have also failed to show that one drug is better than the other.
Conclusions: The efficacy and effectiveness of acetaminophen and ibuprofen in their recommended dosages are similar, with slightly more beneficial effects shown with ibuprofen.