Published on 13/11/2013
Ibuprofen taken with or without paracetamol provides no advantage for patients with colds or sore throats, according to a British study.
Ibuprofen may not help cure a cold
A study from the University of Southampton found that there were no additional benefits from taking ibuprofen and the results also showed patients derived no benefit from steam inhalation. The study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers carried out random trials on 889 people aged three years and above with acute respiratory tract infections such as colds or sore throats. Patients were advised to take ibuprofen, paracetamol or both with or without steam inhalation.
The scientists from the University of Southampton then assessed the symptoms in the following four days and factored in their temperature and antibiotic use as well as asking of the patients had sought further consultations.
Professor Paul Little from the Primary Care Research in the Faculty of Medicine led the study and believes the current courses for treatment may need reviewing.
Prof Little said: “Paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of both are the most common courses of treatment for respiratory tract infections.
Although we have to be a bit cautious since these were surprise findings, for the moment I would personally not advise most patients to use ibuprofen for symptom control for coughs, colds and sore throat."
Steam inhalation was also advised against as it does not provide any benefits but does carry a small risk of injury.
Prof Little said: “Clinicians should probably not advise patients to use steam inhalation in daily practice as it does not provide symptomatic benefit for acute respiratory infections and a few individuals are likely to experience mild thermal injury.”
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