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Nurses keen to recommend paracetamol over ibuprofen

Nurses are seven times more likely to recommend paracetamol for treating paediatric pain than ibuprofen.

However, a group of experts stress nurses' preference for paracetamol is strongly driven by “misconceptions” and a “lack of education”.

The survey commissioned by Opinion Health showed 7 in 10 nurses are “more likely” to recommend paracetamol over ibuprofen.

This is despite an expert panel agreeing both medicines are “equally effective” for fever in children.

They believe the main reason the benefits of ibuprofen may be disregarded is down to an “unnecessary fear” of the drug's safety and unfounded concerns about gastrointestinal upset in children.

“To my knowledge there has never been an incidence of critical poisoning with ibuprofen even with extremely large doses - a fact that is rare for most medicines,” said Stephen Tomlin, Consultant Pharmacist, Children's Services and Advisor to the expert group.

“To improve the future of child pain and fever management all healthcare professionals need to stop and reconsider their current beliefs against the facts.”

The experts concluded that paracetamol and ibuprofen have similar tolerability profiles and that nurses need to overcome the “huge misconception” that ibuprofen cannot be given on an empty stomach.