Paracetamol is one of the most popular drugs prescribed drugs in UK. It is also one of the most commonly purchased drugs over the counter to help relieve mild to moderate pain, such as headache toothache, and help with cold symptoms, such as high temperature.
Ibuprofen is indicated to help to control similar symptoms. Additionally, Ibuprofen reduces swelling and inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Can paracetamol and Ibuprofen be taken together?
NHS recommends that anyone who is 16 or over can take Ibuprofen and paracetamol together at the same time. This differs from recommendations for children.
Can People Take paracetamol and Ibuprofen together at the same time?
NHS (with advice from NICE) does not recommend giving paracetamol and Ibuprofen together at the same time unless recommended by a healthcare professional.
You can try the second medication instead if, for example, your child is still in ‘distress’ after giving them a dose of paracetamol. A dose of Ibuprofen could be given before the next dose of paracetamol.
Both drugs should not be given routinely alternately.
Why giving paracetamol and Ibuprofen at the same time is not recommended
NHS recommendations come from NICE guidelines on the management of fever under 5s.
NICE guidelines used a systemic review that assessed the safety and efficacy of combining paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Few clinical studies have shown that both double and alternating dosage may be more effective in reducing children’s fever than using a single drug alone. These studies did not include the ages of children.
The use of a single drug was recommended as insufficient information exists to recommend both medications simultaneously. No severe side effects were reported in any included studies (NICE, 2013).
Paracetamol and ibuprofen: combination product
A combination product containing paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be purchased from the pharmacy. Nuromol contains 200mg and 500mg of paracetamol. There is some evidence suggesting Nuromol is more effective in reducing pain than taking paracetamol and Ibuprofen at the same time.
NICE (2013). 4-year surveillance (2017) – Fever in under 5s: assessment and initial management (2013) NICE guideline CG160. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg160/evidence/appendix-a-summary-of-new-evidence-from-surveillance-pdf-4429528382 Accessed on 10/03/2019