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From Dr. Bang: Tylenol vs. Motrin

IBUPROFEN (MOTRIN) VS TYLENOL IN TIMES OF COVD-19

With COVID-19 information flying fast and furious, it is important to turn to sources which you can trust. A few days ago, information put by French Health Ministry, created confusion, by suggesting that Motrin may not be the best for those with COVID-19 infection. This information that the infection is based on anecdotal and has not been supported by any other country with much more experience like Italy and China.

WHAT SHOULD WE AS PARENTS DO?

Unlike Tylenol, Motrin has immune dampening effect, as well as, increases bleeding, causes/aggravates kidney failure, and could cause gastritis. Patients, who has been in the hospital for several days, may be likely to have conditions, so it is understandable why Tylenol could be better than Motrin. Due to lack of convincing evidence, WHO reverses previous statement and issued a new statement  that Ibuprofen can be used as necessary. In my professional opinion, I prefer Tylenol over Motrin for reducing fever, however, in cases of pain and inflammatory conditions I would suggest use of Motrin. Remember we give fever reducer to make the child feel comfortable, degree of fever is not related to severity of illness. If Tylenol gives your child significant comfort, then stick to it. DO NOT RUSH OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO GET TYLENOL WHEN YOU HAVE MOTRIN AT HOME. FEVER ALONE DOES NOT CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE UNTIL IT HAS REACHED NEAR 107 DEGREES. If any brain damage presents it is due to underlying disease instead of fever itself. PLEASE DO NOT OVER BURDEN EMERGENCY ROOMS FOR ROUTINE FEVERS AT THIS TIME.

REGARDING PRACTICE OF ROTATION OF TYLENOL AND MOTRIN

There is no clear benefit demonstrated by alternating Tylenol and Motrin. Both drugs are safe, which ever works well for your child. In my experience, neither drug is of much help primarily due to inadequate dosing. I’ve seen confusion and overdosing when two people are administering these medications. However, if this works for any person, for whatever reason, I prefer to keep it at 4-hour intervals.

Fortunately, children are at minimal risk, however the latest epidemiological evidence from China suggests that children that are less than one year old are vulnerable. We advise patient to CALL our office for triage by phone.

PLEASE DO NOT WALK INTO ANY DOCTOR’S OFFICE BEFORE CALLING WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT.