Efficacy and Safety of NSAIDs in Infants: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature of the Past 20 Years

Victoria C. Ziesenitz, Tatjana Welzel, Madelé van Dyk, Patrick Saur, Matthias Gorenflo, Johannes N. van den Anker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used in infants, children, and adolescents worldwide; however, despite sufficient evidence of the beneficial effects of NSAIDs in children and adolescents, there is a lack of comprehensive data in infants. The present review summarizes the current knowledge on the safety and efficacy of various NSAIDs used in infants for which data are available, and includes ibuprofen, dexibuprofen, ketoprofen, flurbiprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, ketorolac, indomethacin, niflumic acid, meloxicam, celecoxib, parecoxib, rofecoxib, acetylsalicylic acid, and nimesulide. The efficacy of NSAIDs has been documented for a variety of conditions, such as fever and pain. NSAIDs are also the main pillars of anti-inflammatory treatment, such as in pediatric inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Limited data are available on the safety of most NSAIDs in infants. Adverse drug reactions may be renal, gastrointestinal, hematological, or immunologic. Since NSAIDs are among the most frequently used drugs in the pediatric population, safety and efficacy studies can be performed as part of normal clinical routine, even in young infants. Available data sources, such as (electronic) medical records, should be used for safety and efficacy analyses. On a larger scale, existing data sources, e.g. adverse drug reaction programs/networks, spontaneous national reporting systems, and electronic medical records should be assessed with child-specific methods in order to detect safety signals pertinent to certain pediatric age groups or disease entities. To improve the safety of NSAIDs in infants, treatment needs to be initiated with the lowest age-appropriate or weight-based dose. Duration of treatment and amount of drug used should be regularly evaluated and maximum dose limits and other recommendations by the manufacturer or expert committees should be followed. Treatment for non-chronic conditions such as fever and acute (postoperative) pain should be kept as short as possible. Patients with chronic conditions should be regularly monitored for possible adverse effects of NSAIDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-655
Number of pages53
Issue number6
Early online date2 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • non-steroidal anti-infammatory drugs
  • NSAIDs
  • Children
  • Safety
  • Efficacy
  • Anti-inflammatory treatments


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