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Fever as a natural defense mechanism must not be suppressed by acetaminophen

Author : Pierre Allain Date : 2010-1-24

A letter from D Alan W Fowler, published in the BMJ of December 31th, 2009, draws the attention to the fact that the fever can have a protective effect against viral infections. Its lowering by an antipyretic drug can worsen these infections. A temperature of 40°C during at least 24 hours could have a beneficial effect in patients with influenza.

There is no clinical study demonstrating the beneficial effects of fever but there is either no clinical study showing that the use of acetaminophen compared to a placebo, during a viral infection with fever, has more beneficial than adverse effects.

The question is not to know if it is necessary to prefer acetaminophen to ibuprofen in patients with fever caused by an infection but if is better to avoid both of them..

A recent paper from the Lancet shows that paracetamol (acetaminophen) administration at the time of vaccination reduces antibody production.

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