Questions are being raised about giving ibuprofen to patients with a cold and sore throat, in new research reported by the Medical Express
In a study published in the British Medical Journal, University of Southampton researchers found that compared with paracetamol, ibuprofen provides no advantage for patients overall with colds or sore throats.
In addition, a combo of paracetamol and ibuprofen is no better than paracetamol alone and steam inhalation is not only ineffective, but may even cause mild scalding in about 2 percent of people.
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"Paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of both are the most common courses of treatment for respiratory tract infections," noted Paul Little, who led the study. "Clinicians should probably not advise patients to use steam inhalation in daily practice as it does not provide symptomatic benefit for acute respiratory infections and a few individuals are likely to experience mild thermal injury.
"Similarly, routinely advising ibuprofen or ibuprofen and paracetamol together than just paracetamol is also not likely to be effective. However our research has shown that ibuprofen is likely to help children, and those with chest infections."
The research, which involved nearly 900 people, also showed between 50 percent and 70 percent of participants in the study who were prescribed ibuprofen or ibuprofen with paracetamol came back for follow-up treatment.
"This may have something to do with the fact the ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory. It is possible that the drug is interfering with an important part of the immune response and leads to prolonged symptoms or the progression of symptoms in some individuals," said Little.
"Although we have to be a bit cautious since these were surprise findings, for the moment I would personally not advise most patients to use ibuprofen for symptom control for coughs colds and sore throat."