Childhood Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers used in children include acetaminophen (e.g., Children's Tylenol) and ibuprofen (e.g., Children's Motrin, Children's Advil). OTC pain relievers often are used to treat headache, sore throat, ear infection, and minor injuries in children and adolescents.

These OTC medications are available in a number of different forms, including infant drops, liquids (elixir), chewable tablets, and junior strength tablets. Due to the risk for a serious condition called Reye syndrome, aspirin should not be used in children younger than 18 years of age.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen should only be used as directed—in the recommended doses and for the length of time indicated—in children and adolescents. If the child's condition worsens, or if it does not improve after 3 to 5 days, parents should contact a qualified health care provider.

Ibuprofen can cause serious side effects, especially at higher than normal doses or when used long term. Side effects include upset stomach, drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision. In severe cases, ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal irritation, bleeding, and ulceration.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 08 Sep 2015