Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

NSAIDs relieve pain and fever. They also reduce swelling and inflammation. You can get these medicines over the counter or with a prescription.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is a common over-the-counter NSAID for children. Aspirin is also an NSAID. But do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.

Make sure your child takes NSAIDS exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with the medicine. If your child takes an over-the-counter NSAID, read and follow all instructions on the label.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

What should you know about NSAIDs?

  • The most common side effects from NSAIDs are stomach aches, heartburn, and nausea. Taking NSAIDs with food may help prevent these problems.
  • NSAIDs can raise the risk of kidney damage, skin reactions, and bleeding in the stomach and intestines. The risks are greater if your child takes NSAIDs at higher doses or for longer than the instructions say.
  • Do not give your child an over-the-counter NSAID for longer than 10 days. Talk to your doctor first.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child vomits blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • Your child passes maroon or very bloody stools.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child's stools are black and tar-like or have streaks of blood.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: October 9, 2017