For a Broken Arm, Give a Child Ibuprofen — Not Codeine, Researchers Say

August 18, 2009
Los Angeles Times

The parent of a kid with a newly broken arm — not to mention the kid himself or herself — is unlikely to want to leave the emergency department without a prescription for pain relief. A new study suggests that such relief should come from ibuprofen.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin studied 336 children, ages 4 to 18, with arm fractures, half of whom were prescribed ibuprofen upon their discharge from the emergency department, half of whom were given acetaminopen with codeine. The patients and their family then kept a diary of pain and medication side effects for the next 72 hours.

Not only did the ibuprofen work just fine in controlling pain — at least as good as the codeine-laced acetaminophen — the medicine normally associated with relieving headaches and muscle aches also had far fewer downsides. More…