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Nurofen for children

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 3 minutes read

Nurofen for Children contains ibuprofen in a liquid suspension suitable for babies and children between 3 months and 9 years of age. Ibuprofen is a common over the counter anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce a fever (high temperature) when they are unwell or have a fever after a planned procedure such as an immunisation injection. Nurofen can also help relieve symptoms of cold or flu by helping relieve mild to moderate pain.

Who is it for?

Nurofen for children can be used for the fast and effective reduction of fever, including fever due to childhood immunisations, relief of cold and flu symptoms, mild to moderate pains such as teething pain, toothache, sore throat, headache, minor aches and sprains.

How does it work?

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) from the same family of treatments as aspirin and naproxen. Because of this, make sure you aren’t taking ibuprofen alongside other anti-inflammatories, as this can cause stomach irritation.

Ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory effect works by blocking the body’s production of substances called "prostaglandins", which are released in response to illness or injury. Prostaglandins can cause pain and inflammation to notify the person they are unwell. By stopping prostaglandin production, they can stop the pain, inflammation and even fever.

Ibuprofen also has a minor antiplatelet effect, which means it stops the blood from clotting. You should seek the advice of a pharmacist or doctor if you or your child are on any medications that may affect your bleeding or clotting.

Dosages and side effects

Ibuprofen (Nurofen for children) doses vary depending on the age and weight of the child. The lowest effective dose should be taken for the shortest period of time.

Children under the age of 6 months with a fever should be reviewed by your doctor to check they have a clear cause for their illness. For children above 6 months, seek advice from your doctor if they have severe symptoms, are not keeping hydrated (dry tongue, dry skin, not having regular wet nappies, not drinking more than 50% of their normal fluid intake), or have fevers ongoing for more than 3-5 days.

Before administering the medication, ensure that you shake the bottle well and follow the advice based on the weight or age of your child.

Should anyone avoid it?

Like all medications, don’t administer ibuprofen if the baby or child has previously had an allergic reaction to the medication. You should speak to your doctor if your child has severe kidney or liver problems, or if they have other medications or medical conditions where you would normally discuss them with their doctor or pharmacist before starting something new.

Do not give Nurofen (ibuprofen) if the infant or child is under 3 months old or weighs less than 5kg, has a fructose intolerance or is taking any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or aspirin above 75mg daily. If your child has a known stomach ulcer or inflammatory bowel disease, you should avoid taking ibuprofen unless recommended by your doctor.

If your child is asthmatic and hasn’t had anti-inflammatories before, they can sometimes cause an acute asthma attack so it would be best to avoid unless discussed with your doctor.

As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include indigestion and heartburn because ibuprofen can irritate the lining of the stomach especially when taken for more than a few days. The recommendation that ibuprofen is taken with food is given to try and avoid this.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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