Updated on 8 November 2013
Ibuprofen, ibuprofen plus paracetamol and steam inhalation provided no advantage to respiratory patients also had no clear benefits
Singapore: A research carried out by the University of Southampton and published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed that ibuprofen or a combination of both ibuprofen and paracetamol provided no advantage for patients with respiratory tract infections.
The research, which is titled 'Ibuprofen, paracetamol, and steam for patients with respiratory tract infections in primary care: pragmatic randomized factorial trial', was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research programme.
Furthermore, the study found that steam inhalation, another common treatment method, had no clear benefit and around two percent of people get mild scalding but not bad enough to see a doctor.
The research also showed that patients were more likely to come back within a month with worsening symptoms or new symptoms if they were prescribed with ibuprofen or ibuprofen with paracetamol. Between 50 percent and 70 percent of participants in the study, who were prescribed ibuprofen or ibuprofen with paracetamol, came back.
Professor Paul Little, who led the study, commented that, "Clinicians should probably not advise patients to use steam inhalation in daily practice as it does not provide symptomatic benefit for acute respiratory infections and a few individuals are likely to experience mild thermal injury. Similarly, routinely advising ibuprofen or ibuprofen and paracetamol together than just paracetamol is also not likely to be effective. However our research has shown that ibuprofen is likely to help children, and those with chest infections."