New research has suggested that treating feverish children with ibuprofen and paracetamol could alleviate their symptoms better than using either of the drugs alone.
Current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance says that it is "okay to give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen if they have a fever and they are distressed or unwell". It says that the medicines should not be given at the same time, but does add: "If you give your child one medicine and it does not help, you may want to consider using the other."
However, scientists at the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England have found that children spend less time with fever if ibuprofen is used in the first four hours, followed by both ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Fever is very common in young children, affecting around 70% of preschool age youngsters each year, and between 20% and 40% of parents seek help every year for their child's feverish illness.
Lead researcher Dr Alastair Hay warned that parents should not combine liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen in one solution, but should give the doses separately.
"Ibuprofen seems to have a longer duration of action so it seems to be more powerful and it has a different mechanism of action than paracetamol," he added.
The study is published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
"Yes I have been using this combination on my kids (4) for a long time and find it very effective. They work differently and depending on the complaint, but the combination works well." - Shani Gubbay, London
"I was advised by GP to give my child both when she had fever which didn't come down with paracetemol alone for days. I have given one drug then the other, spaced out to provide continuous day and night fever reduction and pain relief." - Elaine Kearney, Glasgow