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Evidence on the use of paracetamol in febrile children

Russell, Fiona M., Shann, Frank, Curtis, Nigel and Mulholland, E. Kim (2003). Evidence on the use of paracetamol in febrile children. Bulletin of the World Health Organization,81:367-372.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Evidence on the use of paracetamol in febrile children
Author Russell, Fiona M.
Shann, Frank
Curtis, Nigel
Mulholland, E. Kim
Journal Name Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Publication Date 2003
Volume Number 81
ISSN 0042-9686   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 367
End Page 372
Total Pages 6
Place of Publication Switzerland
Publisher World Health Organization
Abstract Antipyretics, including acetaminophen (paracetamol), are prescribed commonly in children with pyrexia, despite minimal evidence of a clinical benefit. A literature review was performed by searching Medline and the Cochrane databases for research papers on the efficacy of paracetamol in febrile illnesses in children and adverse outcomes related to the use of paracetamol. No studies showed any clear benefit for the use of paracetamol in therapeutic doses in febrile children with viral or bacterial infections or with malaria. Some studies suggested that fever may have a beneficial role in infection, although no definitive prospective studies in children have been done to prove this. The use of paracetamol in therapeutic doses generally is safe, although hepatotoxicity has occurred with recommended dosages in children. In developing countries where malnutrition is common, data on the safety of paracetamol are lacking. The cost of paracetamol for poor families is substantial. No evidence shows that it is beneficial to treat febrile children with paracetamol. Treatment should be given only to children who are in obvious discomfort and those with conditions known to be painful. The role of paracetamol in children with severe malaria or sepsis and in malnourished, febrile children needs to be clarified.
Keywords Acetaminophen/pharmacology
Fever/drug therapy
Virus diseases/drug therapy
Bacterial infections/drug therapy
Falciparum/drug therapy
Febrile seizures/drug therapy
Treatment outcome
Review literature
(source: MeSH, NLM )
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Created: Tue, 27 Nov 2012, 14:21:32 CST by Teresa Haendel