NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Contrary to what might be expected, ibuprofen use does not increase morbidity among children with asthma and may, in fact, actually reduce it, according to a report published online in the electronic pages of the February issue of Pediatrics.
Dr. Samuel M. Lesko and colleagues, from Boston University, assessed the outcomes of 1879 asthmatic children who experienced a febrile illness and were randomized to receive acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
While none of the children had a history of aspirin sensitivity, it has been postulated that sensitivity to NSAIDs may go unrecognized in young children with asthma.
The researchers found that ibuprofen-treated children were 37% less likely to be hospitalized for asthma than acetaminophen-treated children. However, the difference was not statistically significant. In contrast, a significant difference in the risk of an outpatient visit was observed, with ibuprofen-treated children being 44% less likely than acetaminophen-treated children to make a visit.
The current findings do not support the hypothesis that ibuprofen is more likely than acetaminophen to increase the risk of bronchospasm in asthmatic children without a history of aspirin sensitivity. In fact, the present results suggest that just the opposite may be true.
It is beyond the scope of the current study to determine whether ibuprofen use decreases asthma morbidity or acetaminophen use increases it, the authors point out. However, the findings are useful in establishing the relative safety of ibuprofen use in children with asthma.