Fever management: evaluating the use of ibuprofen and paracetamol

Paediatr Nurs. 2010 Apr;22(3):22-6. doi: 10.7748/paed2010.


Paracetamol and ibuprofen are safe and effective medications for reducing a fever in children and young people and they are often administered together with a view to reducing a temperature quickly. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines dictate that only one of these drugs should be given at a time because there is no evidence to suggest that simultaneous use is more effective. This article summarises a literature search of randomised controlled trials carried out to identify which, if either, of these drugs is faster at reducing a fever. In the studies examined, ibuprofen was found to be marginally more effective. However, the maximum dose of paracetamol was not administered. There is a need for more methodologically sound research that uses equivalent doses of both drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects
  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Female
  • Fever / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / adverse effects
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patient Selection*
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design
  • Safety
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen