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


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Hand PCNs control of primary care infrastructure funding, says RCGP

CCG funding for primary care infrastructure should be handed to PCNs when the bodies...

Professor Martin Marshall and Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Talking General Practice speaks to RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

In-house review not enough to stop 'unjust' GMC referrals, warns BMA

Doctors' leaders have repeated calls for a full independent review of the GMC referral...


How widespread is long COVID in the UK?

Millions of people in the UK are living with long COVID. GPonline looks at the data...

COVID-19 vaccination sign

GP contract for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign due shortly

GP practices in England will be invited shortly to sign up for the COVID-19 autumn...