An antipyretic (/ˌæntipˈrɛtɪk/, from anti- 'against' and pyretic 'feverish') is a substance that reduces fever.[1] Antipyretics cause the hypothalamus to override a prostaglandin-induced increase in temperature. The body then works to lower the temperature, which results in a reduction in fever.

Tablets of ibuprofen, a common antipyretic

Most antipyretic medications have other purposes. The most common antipyretics in the US are usually ibuprofen and aspirin, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used primarily as anti-inflammatories and analgesics (pain relievers), but which also have antipyretic properties; and paracetamol (acetaminophen), an analgesic without anti-inflammatory properties.[2]

There is some debate over the appropriate use of such medications, since fever is part of the body's immune response to infection.[3][4] A study published by the Royal Society claims that fever suppression causes at least 1% more influenza deaths in the United States, or 700 extra deaths per year.[5]

Non-pharmacological treatment edit

Bathing or sponging with lukewarm or cool water can effectively reduce body temperature in those with heat illness, but not usually in those with fever.[6] The use of alcohol baths is not an appropriate cooling method, because there have been reported adverse events associated with systemic absorption of alcohol.[7]

Medications edit

The list of medications with antipyretic effects includes many common drugs that also have analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity, several of which are commonly sold over-the-counter (OTC).

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), a broad class of medications that in addition to their defining effect of reducing inflammation, also tend to be potent analgesics and antipyretics. The majority work by inhibiting the activity of the cyclooxygenase (COX) family of enzymes in the body.
  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen) class antipyretics, which have negligible anti-inflammatory activity. Apart from paracetamol itself, the medications in this class are mainly previously marketed drugs which were withdrawn owing to safety concerns, one example of this being phenacetin.
  • A few other medications have antipyretic effects of varying strength. While these medications tend to have too weak fever reducing effects or too many adverse effects to use primarily as antipyretics, their antipyretic effect may occasionally be useful. For example, there are theoretical reasons to believe,[10] as well as slight evidence from one human trial,[11] that α2-adrenergic agonists, and particularly clonidine (a common drug used to treat high blood pressure, ADHD, spasticity and several other conditions), may have antipyretic effects, which if verified could potentially be useful in patients with septic shock or acute respiratory distress syndrome.[12]

Use in children edit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that improper dosing is one of the biggest problems in giving acetaminophen (paracetamol) to children.[13] The effectiveness of acetaminophen alone as an antipyretic in children is uncertain, with some evidence showing it is no better than physical methods.[14] Therapies involving alternating doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen have shown greater antipyretic effect than either drug alone.[15] One meta-analysis indicated that ibuprofen is more effective than acetaminophen in children at similar doses when both are given alone.[16]

Due to concerns about Reye syndrome, it is recommended that aspirin and combination products that contain aspirin not be given to children or teenagers during episodes of fever-causing illnesses.[17][18]

Traditional medicine edit

Traditional use of vascular plants with antipyretic properties is a common worldwide feature of many ethnobotanical cultures. In ethnobotany, a plant with naturally occurring antipyretic properties is commonly referred to as a febrifuge.[19]

References edit

  1. ^ "Definition of antipyretic". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  2. ^ "Acetaminophen," National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Modified 2016-08-07, Accessed 2016-08-16.
  3. ^ "Mayo Clinic".
  4. ^ "Medline Plus".
  5. ^ Kupferschmidt, Kai (2014-01-21). "Fight the Flu, Hurt Society?". ScienceNow.
  6. ^ "Fever in infants and children: Pathophysiology and management".
  7. ^ Sullivan, J. E.; Committee On, H. C.; Sullivan, J. E.; Farrar, H. C. (2011). "Fever and Antipyretic Use in Children". Pediatrics. 127 (3): 580–587. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-3852. PMID 21357332.
  8. ^ a b c Cryer B, Feldman M (May 1998). "Cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 selectivity of widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs". Am J Med. 104 (5): 413–21. doi:10.1016/s0002-9343(98)00091-6. PMID 9626023.
  9. ^ Hawley SA, Fullerton MD, Ross FA, Schertzer JD, Chevtzoff C, Walker KJ, et al. (May 2012). "The ancient drug salicylate directly activates AMP-activated protein kinase". Science. 336 (6083): 918–22. Bibcode:2012Sci...336..918H. doi:10.1126/science.1215327. PMC 3399766. PMID 22517326.
  10. ^ Madden CJ, Tupone D, Cano G, Morrison SF (January 2013). "α2 Adrenergic receptor-mediated inhibition of thermogenesis". J Neurosci. 33 (5): 2017–28. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4701-12.2013. PMC 3711400. PMID 23365239.
  11. ^ Mokhtari M, Sistanizad M, Farasatinasab M (January 2017). "Antipyretic Effect of Clonidine in Intensive Care Unit Patients: A Nested Observational Study". J Clin Pharmacol. 57 (1): 48–51. doi:10.1002/jcph.776. PMID 27264198. S2CID 3741978.
  12. ^ Petitjeans F, Leroy S, Pichot C, Geloen A, Ghignone M, Quintin L (2018). "Hypothesis: Fever control, a niche for alpha-2 agonists in the setting of septic shock and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome?". Temperature (Austin). 5 (3): 224–256. doi:10.1080/23328940.2018.1453771. PMC 6209424. PMID 30393754.
  13. ^ Reducing Fever in Children: Safe Use of Acetaminophen
  14. ^ Meremikwu M, Oyo-Ita A (2002). Meremikwu MM (ed.). "Paracetamol for treating fever in children". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2002 (2): CD003676. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003676. PMC 6532671. PMID 12076499. Trial evidence that paracetamol has a superior antipyretic effect than placebo is inconclusive.
  15. ^ E. Michael Sarrell, MD; Eliahu Wielunsky, MD; Herman Avner Cohen, MD (2006). "Antipyretic treatment in young children with fever: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or both alternating in a randomized, double-blind study". Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 160 (2): 197–202. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.2.197. PMID 16461878.
  16. ^ Kauffman, Ralph; Sawyer, L.A.; Scheinbaum, M.L. (1992). "Antipyretic Efficacy of Ibuprofen vs Acetaminophen". American Journal of Diseases of Children. 146 (5): 622–625. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160170102024. PMID 1621668.
  17. ^ CDC Study Shows Sharp Decline in Reye's Syndrome among U.S. Children Archived November 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Reye's syndrome - Prevention
  19. ^ Schultes, Richard Evans; Raffauf, Robert F. (1994). "De Plantis Toxicariis e Mundo Novo Tropicale Commentationes XXXIX Febrifuges of northwest Amazonia". Harvard Papers in Botany. 1 (5): 52–68. ISSN 1043-4534. JSTOR 41761491.