Paracetamol 'blocks jab response'

Children should not routinely be given paracetamol to reduce the risk of fever after vaccination, after researchers found the drug can hinder the response to vaccine antigens.

The study looked at 459 infants randomly assigned to receive three prophylactic paracetamol doses every six to eight hours, or no paracetamol, in the first 24 hours after a routine childhood jab for pneumococcal disease, tetanus or polio.

After the initial vaccinations, 42 per cent of infants in the paracetamol group had temperatures above 38 degsC compared with 66 per cent of infants in the placebo group.

But infants given paracetamol had lower antibody geometric mean concentrations, a measure of immune response, than infants in the placebo group.

The researchers, led by Professor Robert Prymula from the faculty of Military Health Sciences, University of Defence, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, said: 'To our knowledge, such an effect of prophylactic paracetamol on post-immunisation immune responses has not been documented before.

'The interference could result from the prevention of inflammation.'

The researchers said paracetamol may cut immune responses by interfering with the early phase of post-vaccination immune reactions that require interaction between dendritic cells, T-cells and B-cells.

They suggested paracetamol should no longer be routinely recommended without careful weighing of benefits and risks.

Oxford GP Dr Anthony Harnden, a child infections expert, said: 'Infants should not routinely be given paracetamol following immunisation - they should be given paracetamol only if they develop a high fever or prolonged irritability.'

But Dr George Kassianos, RCGP immunisation spokesman, said the study involved vaccines not used in the UK.

'Post-vaccination fever should be managed with cooling the room, tepid sponging and dressing the child lightly. Paracetamol has a place if the child develops a temperature above 38 degsC.'

GP Online recommends

The Lancet Online 2009

Read more

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

Older adults living in care homes and staff working there will be first to receive...

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs facing fitness to practise investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic will be...

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

A government review has rejected calls for a major overhaul of an NHS Property Services...

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

The RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have called on GP practices and community...

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments have risen rapidly in recent weeks as schools returned, according...

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

Medical training and the future NHS workforce could be seriously damaged by the financial...