John Smith, PAGB Chief Executive, comments:
“We welcome any new research* on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and these findings should not concern women currently using ibuprofen to treat urinary tract infections, such as cystitis.
“It is important to note, more than half of women in this study who were treated with ibuprofen made a full recovery, without subsequent antibiotic treatment, which the authors’ highlight could reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. In addition, women in the ibuprofen group were given three daily doses of 600mg, lower than the maximum daily allowance of 2400mg for adults, which could have also impacted on the level of symptomatic relief during the treatment duration and subsequently the number of women who made a full recovery from ibuprofen alone.
“The official NHS advice is that ibuprofen is recommended as a treatment option for alleviating uncomfortable symptoms for women who have suffered with cystitis before and don’t feel they need to visit their GP. In most mild cases, symptoms will often get better without the need for antibiotics, but where symptoms don’t improve or episodes are more frequent, women should seek medical advice.
“Ibuprofen is an effective and appropriately safe way to provide short-term pain relief if used in accordance with the clear on-pack instructions and the patient information leaflet inside.
Anyone who has concerns about taking a medicine should speak to a pharmacist in the first instance.”
*A study from the University of Oslo originally published in PLOS Medicine has reported that ibuprofen alone may not be a suitable alternative to antibiotics for treating uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs).