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Therapie. 2006 Mar-Apr;61(2):151-60.

[Analgesic/Antipyretic treatment: ibuprofen or acetaminophen? An update].

[Article in French]

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Pharmacologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Cochin, Université René Descartes, Paris, France.


Because of the adverse effects associated with aspirin, especially Reye's syndrome in children, practitioners currently use as first line therapy drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Their pharmacokinetic characteristics are not quite identical: both are absorbed rapidly and have high bioavailability, however, unlike acetaminophen, ibuprofen is characterized by high plasma protein binding and a limited distribution volume. Both drugs are metabolized essentially in the liver into inactive hydroxylated or glucoronidated metabolites by conjugation but acetaminophen is also transformed into an oxidation compound--normally reduced by glutathione--which, in the case of acute overdosing with depletion of endogenous glutathione stores, may lead to severe hepatotoxicity. Old age and light to moderate renal or hepatic failure do not significantly modify their pharmacokinetic parameters, and thus do not call for dose adjustment. Clinical trials have shown both drugs to have comparable efficacy on pain and fever, with perhaps a slight advantage for ibuprofen. In practice, the choice will depend on the prescription habits of the practitioner, patient's (or parents') preferences and, above all, the pathological context and possible contra-indications.

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