Paracetamol and ibuprofen: fever juice for children is still scarce

Liquid paracetamol for children and for difficulty swallowing

If children have a fever or have mild pain such as a headache, parents can give them paracetamol juice. The liquid painkiller is also an option for patients with difficulty swallowing. In recent months, however, pharmacists have often had to give up liquid paracetamol: it is only available to a limited extent or not at all. Additionally: Even with fever juice with ibuprofen, there are always delays in delivery.

Fewer providers on the market

The supply bottleneck has two causes. According to the trade journal arznei-telegram, only two of the eleven suppliers of paracetamol juice that existed twelve years ago today remain: the main suppliers Ratiopharm and Bene-Arzneimittel. The industry association Pro Generika states that other manufacturers have stopped production because it is no longer economical given the costs, which have been increasing for years.

Demand has increased significantly

At the same time, demand has increased sharply and remains high: According to Pro Generika, the number of fever juice orders from companies is up to eight times higher than usual. In the summer, there were significantly more respiratory infections than was normal before the pandemic. In addition, there are staff shortages and bottlenecks when purchasing glass bottles, filters, cleaning agents or active ingredients.

Paracetamol suppositories for babies over 3 kilos

As long as paracetamol juice is scarce, paracetamol suppositories can be an alternative, especially for young children. The dosage depends on the child’s weight: the lowest dose of 75 milligrams is suitable for short-term use for fever and mild pain in infants weighing 3 to 6 kg.

However, suppositories have one disadvantage: the effect can be uncertain because the substance does not fully enter the blood, and introducing it can trigger defecation.

Important: Babies under three months should only be given pain-relieving and fever-reducing medicines as directed by the doctor. Do not give paracetamol tablets to children weighing less than 33 kg: they usually contain too much paracetamol. An overdose can lead to paracetamol poisoning.

Ibuprofen juice from the 4th month of life

If fever juice with ibuprofen is available, fever and pain in children from the fourth month of life can also be treated with it. According to studies, ibuprofen works even better and faster than paracetamol in children under two years of age. In terms of tolerability, there were no differences in short-term use of the two agents. Ibuprofen in liquid form as juice or syrup is available from different suppliers and in different dosages.

Tip: Check the leaflet that says the dose for your child’s weight. For a safe treatment, measure this precisely – with the measuring spoon or the application syringe from the package. Accurate dosing is not possible with tablespoons or teaspoons.

Sick child: find suitable funds and ordering channels

  • Whether it’s a cold, cystitis or ADHD – in our book Medicine for children you will find reviews from our experts on 1,000 preparations.
  • In our Drugs in Test database, you can read the Stiftung Warentest ratings for more than 9,000 drugs – for both young and old.
  • If you want to order medicine on the Internet, you will find reviews of eleven mail order pharmacies in our test of online pharmacies. Only one is doing well.

Pharmacies may be able to fill prescriptions

If there is no fever juice, pharmacies have the option of ordering them as single imports from abroad. Alternatively, you can create an individual recipe. However, according to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, this “should only be used in individual cases if the child’s medical condition requires treatment with the active ingredients in question.”

In September, Ratiopharm told test.de that it was doing everything it could to eliminate supply bottlenecks. The smaller supplier Bene-Arzneimittel also wants to continue offering the juice in the future and, according to its own statement, is working intensively to increase material stocks and production capacity.

Tip: You can read background information on pharmaceutical production conditions and responses from major pharmaceutical manufacturers to our questions about their commitment to quality, social standards and environmental protection in our article The silence of the pharmaceutical industry.

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