This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

Use of NSAIDs in children with chickenpox

NPA Essential

Use of NSAIDs in children with chickenpox

You may have seen in the news the warning about ibuprofen and chickenpox.

Pharmacists are advised to be aware of recommendations made regarding the use of non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in children infected with varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) guidance on treating chickenpox recommends that NSAIDs are avoided in children with chickenpox.

This is because of concerns that using NSAIDs in children with chickenpox may increase the risk of necrotizing soft-tissue infections and secondary infections caused by invasive streptococci.

There is evidence to suggest an increased risk of skin adverse reactions in people with varicella who are being treated with NSAIDs. The Summaries of Product Characteristics and Patient Information Leaflets provided by manufacturers of NSAID products differ in the information that they provide regarding the use of their products in the management of chickenpox. Some do not currently contain any reference to chickenpox.

Therefore, pharmacists are strongly advised to follow NICE CKS guidance when dispensing prescriptions for NSAIDs in children and when supplying over the counter products for use in children with chickenpox.

Paracetamol can be used to relieve pain and fever in children who are unwell with chickenpox.

For further information on this or any other query, please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891 800 or email

Copy Link copy link button

NPA Essential