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Nurofen for children

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Nurofen for Children contains ibuprofen in a liquid suspension suitable for babies and children between 6 months and 12 years of age. Although Nurofen for Children is not available in the US, the ingredient ibuprofen is available over the counter as liquid and drops under the brand names Advil and Motrin. 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 immunization injection. Ibuprofen can also help relieve symptoms of cold or flu, such as mild to moderate pain.

Who is it for?

Ibuprofen can be used for the fast and effective reduction of fever, including fever due to childhood immunizations, 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 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) from the same family of treatments as aspirin and naproxen. Because of this, ensure 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, NSAIDs 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 doses vary depending on the age and weight of the child. The lowest effective dose should be taken for the shortest period of time.

Your doctor should review children under the age of 6 months with a fever to check if 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 diapers, 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 that you would normally discuss with their doctor or pharmacist before starting something new.

Do not give ibuprofen if the infant or child is under 6 months old or weighs less than 12 pounds, has a fructose intolerance, or is taking any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or aspirin above 75 mg daily. If your child has a known stomach ulcer or inflammatory bowel disease, they 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 them unless discussed with your doctor.

As with any medication, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some common ones include indigestion and heartburn because ibuprofen can irritate the stomach lining, 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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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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