• ibuprofen;
  • acetaminophen;
  • antipyretic;
  • fever;
  • children

Objective. To determine whether evidence in the medical literature supports ibuprofen or acetaminophen for reducing fever in children.

Methods. Both MEDLINE and the Science Citation Index were searched using various medical subject headings for all articles published worldwide from 1966–2000. The language of publication was not restricted.

Results. Initially, 4132 articles were found that dealt with either ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Limiting these articles to humans and children, and cross-referencing with the Science Citation Index resulted in 68 articles; 22 satisfied the inclusion criteria and were further assessed for validity, design, and methods of reporting data.

Conclusion. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen have equal tolerability. Acetaminophen produced a greater body temperature reduction at 0.5 hour after intervention compared with ibuprofen. However, ibuprofen provides a longer duration of antipyretic effect than acetaminophen 4 hours after intervention, and the initial temperature decrement lasts longer.