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NSAIDs (OTC) for treatment of Common Cold in Seniors with cold

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    Bottom Line

  • Treatment with NSAIDs (e.g. Aspirin, Ibuprofen). 9 valid studies conducted, with 1,069 individuals. Reduces fever, pain and sneezing (but does not seem to reduce cough and runny nose) . Side effects seem dangerous to seniors, including inner gastrointestinal bleeding and other serious bleeding events, and increased chances to peptic ulcers, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.

    • -  Evidence icon EVIDENCE | REASONABLY TESTED
    • -  Effectiveness icon EFFECTIVENESS | EFFECTIVE for fever, pains and sneezing
    • -  Safety Circle icon SAFETY | DANGEROUS -  Tooltip icon Consult a Doctor


Not recommended for seniors:

It reliefs discomfort caused by a cold (fever, pain). Do not expect it to reduce cough and runny nose, or to speed up healing. It is regarded as very dangerous to seniors, especially when used often. Therefore seniors should avoid it.

Doctors Say That -  Tooltip icon

Using this treatment cause severe damage, especially to seniors with gastric-intestinal infections or hidden kidney disease, which are VERY common. Avoid it, and look for safer alternatives.

Note that while infections with various strains of Corona viruses are responsible for most cases of common cold, the new corona virus strain, SARS-CoV-2, leads to an entirely different coronavirus infectious disease, COVID-19. The research of treatments for COVID-19 is still pre mature and not based on solid evidence. Therefore, at this stage, we can only speculate that effective treatments for common cold (and related Corona virus strains) may prove effective for Corona disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV-2 strain. Please don't count on it.

About NSAIDs (OTC)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example: Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Naproxen)

  • - Population icon

    Target Population:

    Seniors with cold, 65 year old and above

  • - Dosage icon


    Varies according to drug, age and weight. Usually every 4-6 hours.

  • - Goal icon


    Treatment of Common Cold symptoms

Research Summary

  • - Green Pages icon Reasonably tested
  • 9 Clinical Studies
  • 1,069 - Tooltip icon Seniors Tested
  • Effective
  • Benefits:

    Reduces fever, pain (headache, ear pain, and muscle and joint pain) and sneezing. Does not seem to improve cough and runny nose. Does not effect the duration of Common Cold occurrences.

  • - Safety icon Dangerous
  • Risks:

    Only minor side effects reported in clinical trials, but this treatment is regarded as dangerous to seniors following accumulated evidence with seniors (post marketing). It can cause ulcers and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as kidney failure. In addition, long periods of usage of NSAIDs other then Aspirin may increase the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Common Cold Overview

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    Medical problem:

    Common Cold (symptoms caused by viral infection of the upper respiratory system).

  • - Sumptoms icon

    Symptoms and signs:

    Cough, general discomfort, headache, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose and weakness.

  • - Complications icon


    Bacterial infections: lung infection, middle ear infection, strep throat, sinus infection.

Other Treatments

Brand Names


  • Advil
  • Motrin
  • Nurofen
  • Aspirin
  • Aleve

Additional Information


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a drug class that groups together drugs that reduce pain, decrease fever, and, in higher doses, decrease inflammation. Side effects include an increased risk of stomach ulcers and heart attacks. The term nonsteroidal distinguishes these drugs from steroids, which, among a broad range of other effects, have a similar eicosanoid-depressing, anti-inflammatory action. First used in 1960, the term served to distance these medications from steroids. The most prominent members of this group of drugs are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, all available over the counter in most countries. (source)

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