Solubilized Ibuprofen: Evaluation of Onset, Relief, and Safety of a Novel Formulation in the Treatment of Episodic Tension-type Headache


Address all correspondence to Dr. Elizabeth Ashraf, Whitehall Robins Healthcare, 5 Giralda Farms, Madison, NJ 07940.


Objective.—To evaluate the relative efficacy of a new solubilized formulation of ibuprofen compared with acetaminophen caplets.

Methods.—This double-blind, randomized, parallel group study evaluated 154 subjects taking a single dose of solubilized ibuprofen, 400 mg; acetaminophen, 1000 mg; or placebo for the relief of episodic tension-type headache. Time to relief was measured using a stopwatch, and overall efficacy was measured using traditional categorical pain and relief scales.

Results.—Ibuprofen capsules (liquigel), 400 mg, were significantly faster than both acetaminophen, 1000 mg, and placebo for all time-to-relief measures. Ibuprofen liquigel had a median time to first perceptible pain relief of 39 minutes compared with 47 minutes for acetaminophen and 113 minutes for placebo. For median time to meaningful relief, ibuprofen liquigel had a time of 39 minutes compared with 53 minutes for acetaminophen and more than 180 minutes for placebo (Pleqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant.02 for both measures). In addition, ibuprofen liquigels demonstrated significantly superior overall analgesic efficacy compared with acetaminophen, 1000 mg, for the relief of episodic tension-type headache. Both active treatments had a side effect profile similar to placebo.

Conclusions.—Although several other studies have demonstrated the overall analgesic superiority of ibuprofen to acetaminophen, this study demonstrated that the liquigel formulation also provides a clinically relevant advantage for time to analgesic effects.