Medicines for Fever or Pain Relief

Printer friendly version

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is available without a prescription. Children older than 2 months of age can be given any one of the acetaminophen products (such as, Tylenol). They all have the same dosage. Give the correct dosage for your child's weight every 4 to 6 hours.

 
                      Type                                  May Give
Weight            (Dosage Form)            Dose              Every
---------------------------------------------------------------------
10-11 pounds     drops (80 mg/0.8ml)        1/2 dropper       4-6
                                                              hours
---------------------------------------------------------------------
12-17 pounds     drops (80 mg/0.8ml)        1 dropper         4-6 
                 syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        1/2 tsp           hours
---------------------------------------------------------------------
18-23 pounds     drops (80 mg/0.8ml)        1+1/2 dropper     4-6 
                 syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        3/4 tsp           hours
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   1+1/2 tablets 
---------------------------------------------------------------------
24-35 pounds     drops (80 mg/0.8ml)        2 droppers        4-6 
                 syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        1 tsp             hours
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   2 tablets 
                 chewable tablets (160 mg)  1 tablet               
---------------------------------------------------------------------
36-47 pounds     drops (80 mg/0.8ml)        3 droppers        4-6 
                 syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        1+1/2 tsp         hours
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   3 tablets 
                 chewable tablets (160 mg)  1+1/2 tablet   
---------------------------------------------------------------------
48-59 pounds     syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        2 tsp             4-6 
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   4 tablets         hours
                 chewable tablets (160 mg)  2 tablet       
----------------------------------------------------------------------  
60-71 pounds     syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        2+1/2 tsp         4-6 
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   5 tablets         hours
                 chewable tablets (160 mg)  2+1/2 tablets
                 adult tablets (325 mg)     1 tablet                  
----------------------------------------------------------------------
72-95 pounds     syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        3 tsp             4-6 
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   6 tablets         hours
                 chewable tablets (160 mg)  3 tablets 
                 adult tablets (325 mg)     1 to 1+1/2 tablets  
----------------------------------------------------------------------
96+ pounds       syrup (160 mg/5 ml)        4 tsp             4-6 
                 chewable tablets (80 mg)   8 tablets         hours
                 chewable tablets (160 mg)  4 tablets
                 adult tablets (325 mg)     2 tablets        
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Abbreviations:   mg = milligrams    ml = milliliter   tsp = teaspoon 

Suppositories: Acetaminophen is also available as a rectal suppository in 120-mg, 325-mg, and 650-mg dosages. Suppositories are useful if a child with a fever is vomiting often or having seizures caused by the fever. Use the same dose as listed above for the suppository. Most suppositories can be cut (for example, cut in half) to supply the right dose for your child's age.

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is available without a prescription. Give the correct dosage for your child's weight every 6 to 8 hours.

 
                      Type                                May Give
Weight            (Dosage Form)            Dose            Every
--------------------------------------------------------------------
12-17 pounds    drops (50 mg/1.25 ml)      1 dropper        6-8 hours
--------------------------------------------------------------------  
18-23 pounds    drops (50 mg/1.25 ml)      1+1/2 dropper    6-8 hours
                liquid (100mg/5ml)         3/4 tsp                   
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   1+1/2 tablets           
--------------------------------------------------------------------  
24-35 pounds    drops (50 mg/1.25 ml)      2 droppers       6-8 hours
                liquid (100 mg/5 ml)       1 tsp                     
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   2 tablets   
                chewable tablets (100 mg)  1 tablet
--------------------------------------------------------------------  
36-47 pounds    drops (50 mg/1.25 ml)      3 droppers       6-8 hours
                liquid (100 mg/5 ml)       1+1/2 tsp                 
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   3 tablets 
                chewable tablets (100 mg)  1+1/2 tablet
--------------------------------------------------------------------
48-59 pounds    liquid (100 mg/5 ml)       2 tsp            6-8 hours
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   4 tablets         
                chewable tablets (100 mg)  2 tablets
--------------------------------------------------------------------  
60-71           liquid (100 mg/5 ml)       2+1/2 tsp        6-8 hours
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   5 tablets            
                chewable tablets (100 mg)  2+1/2 tablets
--------------------------------------------------------------------
72-95 pounds    liquid (100 mg/5 ml)       3 tsp            6-8 hours
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   6 tablets    
                chewable tablets (100 mg)  3 tablets
                adult tablets (200 mg)     1+1/2 tablets 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
96+ pounds      liquid (100 mg/5ml)        4 tsp            6-8 hours
                chewable tablets (50 mg)   8 tablets
                chewable tablets (100 mg)  4 tablets
                adult tablets (200 mg)     2 tablets 
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Abbreviations:   mg = milligrams    ml = milliliter    tsp = teaspoon 

Alternating or Combining Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen

If instructed by your health care provider to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen, do it as follows:

  • Alternate doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen every 4 hours.
  • Alternate medicines for only 24 hours or less, then return to a single product.

Combining acetaminophen and ibuprofen is generally not recommended. Combining can cause confusion, dosage errors, and poisoning.

Avoid Aspirin

Children (through age 21 years) should not take aspirin if they have chickenpox or influenza (any cold, cough, or sore throat symptoms). This recommendation is based on several studies that have linked aspirin to Reye's syndrome, a severe encephalitislike illness. Most pediatricians have stopped using aspirin for fevers associated with any illness.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2004-10-11
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.