Antipyretic efficacy and safety of ibuprofen and acetaminophen in children

Ann Pharmacother. 2004 Jan;38(1):146-50. doi: 10.1345/aph.1C391.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage
  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects*
  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Fever / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / administration & dosage
  • Ibuprofen / adverse effects*
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Infant
  • Time Factors


  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen