A study carried out by the University of Southampton and published in the British Medical Journal showed that Ibuprofen does not provide effective treatment against colds.
Ibuprofen when compared to paracetamol and a combination of both ibuprofen and paracetamol was found to be ineffective to patients with colds or sore throats. Not only was it shown to provide no relief of symptoms to patients it was shown that those prescribed ibuprofen were more likely to return with worsening or new symptoms.
These findings were particularly surprising and Professor Paul who led the study suggested this as a possible explanation “It may have something to do with the fact the ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory. It is possible that the drug is interfering with an important part of the immune response and leads to prolonged symptoms or the progression of symptoms in some individuals”.
Ibuprofen is currently routinely prescribed by clinicians to patients with colds and sore throats, but in the wake of these findings it is likely that this will need to be reviewed. Equally if you have a cold or sore throat this winter probably don’t bother with ibuprofen just stick to paracetamol!