Ibuprofen Use in Young Children

Topic Overview

Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation.

Be sure to follow these medicine precautions:

  • Your child's over-the-counter medicine will have a "Drug Facts" label. On the label, you'll find directions for your child's age or weight, the dose to give, and how often to give the dose. Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age without first speaking to your health care provider.
  • Ibuprofen comes in liquid, tablets, caplets, or concentrated drops. Read and follow all the instructions on the medicine bottle and box carefully before giving your child any medicine. There are different products and strengths for infants and children. The correct dose and timing of the dose are important for the medicine to work well.
    • Be extra careful with liquid medicines. Infants usually need a different dose than older children do. And some liquid forms are stronger (more concentrated) than others. Always read the label so that you give the right dose.
    • When you give medicine, use the tool that comes with the medicine, such as a dropper or a dosing cup. Don't use a spoon instead of the tool. Spoons can be different sizes. If the medicine doesn't come with a tool to give doses, ask your pharmacist for one.
  • Do not alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen because of the possible risk of overdose. Studies have not shown any more benefit from alternating these medicines.
  • If you are giving your child ibuprofen for fever or pain, don't also give your child a cold or influenza (flu) medicine that contains acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Your child could get too much medicine.
  • If you are giving your child ibuprofen make sure that they are drinking plenty of fluids. Do not give your child ibuprofen if you are worried about dehydration.

Side effects of ibuprofen are usually mild. Stomach upset or discomfort is the most common side effect. If the medicine upsets your child's stomach, you can try giving it to your child with food. But if that doesn't help, talk with your doctor to make sure it's not a more serious problem.

Do not give your child ibuprofen if he or she has any of the following:

  • History of gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Allergic reactions to aspirin or related drugs
  • Anemia
  • Blood-clotting defect

Do not give your child ibuprofen if he or she is taking any of the following medicines:

  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants)
  • Corticosteroids (such as prednisone)

Credits

Adaptation Date: 8/29/2020

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

Is it an emergency?

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