Research carried out in Canada on pain relief drugs for children has found that ibuprofen is more effective than either acetaminophen or codeine.
In a study of 300 children, aged 6 to 17 brought to the hospital emergency room with a broken bone or a serious sprain, the researchers found that a single dose of ibuprofen, relieved the pain within an hour in 52 of 100 injured children.
Ibuprofen also eased more of the pain than the two other medications.
The children took part in the study at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, which compared the painkillers which were given orally; each received either a 10-milligram dose of ibuprofen, 15 milligrams of acetaminophen, or 1 milligram of codeine.
Of the 100 injured children who took acetaminophen, 36 reported pain relief, while 40 out of the 100 who took codeine reported pain relief.
The children were asked to rate their pain on a 100-point scale before and after taking the medicine.
An hour after taking the drugs the scores for children who got ibuprofen had dropped 24 points, compared with 12 points for the acetaminophen group and 11 points for the codeine group.
Those differences remained at 120 minutes and no major side effects were reported.
Dr. Eric Clark of the University of Ottawa, in Ontario, the study's author, says as only just over half of the children reported adequate pain relief from ibuprofen, the medication alone may not be enough.
Dr. Clark says a number of studies have shown that analgesia is not adequately provided to both pediatric and adult hospital emergency room patients.
Doctors believe ibuprofen may work better for pain from trauma because it targets inflammation while acetaminophen and codeine do not.
Ibuprofen (Advil) is made by Wyeth, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is made by Johnson & Johnson.
The study is published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.