Antipyretics: Uses, Types, Recommendations, Side Effects, Interactions and Prevention

What are Antipyretics?

Several medications are available that offer relief to people who show symptoms of fever. In many cases, a single medication can reduce fever and relieve pain.

When used correctly, these medications are safe for most people and generally cause few side effects.

Fever is a natural response of the body to infections and other conditions.

The chemicals of the immune system are sent to fight against any invading agent, such as bacteria or a virus.

Some of these chemicals, called pyrogens, also travel to the hypothalamus, the area of ​​the brain that controls body temperature and causes the temperature to rise.

Medications used to treat fever are generally known as antipyretic agents. They work by blocking the mechanisms in the body that cause a fever, but they do not treat the underlying condition that triggers the fever.

Common uses

The most common Antipyretics are Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

Aspirin should never be used to treat children, because it can cause Reyes syndrome.

Reyes syndrome is a rare but extremely serious condition that affects all the organs of the body and can be life threatening.

It is recommended that parents or caregivers use Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen to treat a child’s fever.

People who have mild fevers (39 ° C) may not require treatment of any kind.

Even patients with higher temperatures usually do not require treatment, because high temperatures are usually not dangerous in themselves.

Many doctors argue that fevers should not be treated and cite evidence suggesting that fevers really help fight infections.

The exception to this rule involves babies under 3 months of age.

Children of this age often require medical treatment when they have a fever, even a mild fever, especially if they were born prematurely or if their fever is more than 38 ° C.

Although fevers do not usually require treatment, patients may find that a fever reducer can relieve discomfort.

These medications can lower a person’s temperature, which helps reduce symptoms, such as pain, chills, headache, and irritability.

In many cases, medications to reduce fever are combined with medications used to block pain, commonly known as analgesics.

These medications work either by preventing pain signals from going to the brain or by altering the brain’s interpretation of those signals.

In both cases, analgesics prevent the brain from processing pain signals, but do not rely on anesthesia or loss of consciousness to achieve the analgesic effect.

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are two of the most common combination remedies for fever and fever relief.

These medications have few side effects and are even considered safe for babies, who can take them in the form of gout.

Liquids are also available for young children, while larger ones may prefer chewable tablets.

Fever reducers should only be administered as recommended by a doctor. Taking too much of a medication, including over-the-counter medications, can have serious health consequences.

The size of the patient and the severity of the disease are usually the most important factors in determining dosage levels.

However, most medications generally describe the appropriate dosage levels according to the age of the patient. These guidelines work well in most cases.

When measuring an accurate dose of medication, patients are encouraged to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. When using a medicinal dropper, it should be kept at eye level.

The dropper must be the one that was packed with the medicine. When measuring with a spoon, a specific measuring spoon (or the spoon packed with the medicine) should be used because the spoons on the kitchen table vary in size.

When using a medicine cup, patients are advised to fill the cup to the appropriate mark when the cup is at eye level.

People should not deviate from the recommendations suggested by a doctor or drug manufacturer. In addition, people may respond differently to several medications.

People are encouraged to consult their doctor about which medications can be most effective.

Types and differences of fever reducers

There are numerous types of medications that can be used to reduce fever, both prescribed and over the counter.

Both types of medications are strong and should only be used according to the recommendations. People are urged not to take any medication without first consulting a doctor or other health professional.

There are two main categories of fever medications: Acetaminophen and Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

The three main types of Antipyretic agents are Acetaminophen and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin) and Ibuprofen.

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are available in formulations for both adults and children, but children should not take aspirin. Children should never take medications intended for adults, even in smaller doses.

Acetaminophen

It is used to treat mild to moderate pain and fever. It is also used to treat headaches, minor aches, aching muscles and aching joints.

It is less likely to cause stomach irritation than other fever reducers such as aspirin, but is associated with other potential side effects such as skin rash or hives, breathing difficulties, and liver damage.

Salicylate Espirenido

A natural substance found in the bark of willows, aspirin has been used for more than 100 years to reduce fever and relieve mild to moderate pain, redness, swelling and discomfort caused by various medical disorders.

It also helps reduce blood clotting. Although aspirin can be a powerful and effective medication, it can also be dangerous when used in children.

The use of aspirin in children has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, a rare but extremely serious condition that affects all the organs of the body and can be fatal.

The danger is more likely in children who take aspirin when they have a viral infection, such as the flu or chickenpox. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and behavior changes (such as increased belligerence).

Because of this danger, experts recommend that children and adolescents do not use aspirin, especially if they have a viral illness.

In addition, children may be more vulnerable to the side effects of aspirin than adults.

Such side effects include upset stomach and intestinal bleeding.

Because of these side effects, some experts recommend using antipyretics other than aspirin whenever possible.

Ibuprofen

Analgesic that also reduces inflammation and fever.

This Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), is used to treat numerous types of pain, including headaches, muscle aches and many other causes of discomfort.

Ibuprofen is generally considered to be particularly effective in treating high fevers.

However, it should never be taken by patients who are dehydrated or who are continuously vomiting.

Ibuprofen should also not be used in children 6 months or younger.

Naproxen

It is used to reduce fever. It is also used to reduce the pain associated with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

The safety and efficacy of Naproxen has not been established in children under 12 years of age.

This medicine has been associated with stomach irritation and nausea.

Ketoprofen is another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), used to reduce fever, as well as to relieve minor pain and headaches, menstrual periods, toothaches, common cold, muscle aches and other conditions.

recommendations

Patients should inform their doctors about any allergies or medical conditions they have, because some may exclude the use of certain medications for pain and fever.

These conditions include:

  • Anemia (deficiency of red blood cells).
  • Asthma, allergies and history of nasal polyps.
  • Brain disease or head injury.
  • Colitis (intestinal inflammation).
  • Emotional problems or mental illness.
  • Emphysema or other chronic lung disease.
  • Heart disease.
  • Hemophilia or other bleeding problems.
  • History of alcohol or other drug abuse.
  • History of seizures (attacks).
  • Renal disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • Hyperactive or hypoactive thyroid.
  • Phenylketonuria (a genetic spell).
  • Stomach ulcer or other stomach problems.
  • Vitamin K deficiency.
  • Diabetes or other endocrine disorders.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.

Potential side effects of Antipyretics

Some people may experience an upset stomach when they take certain fever medications.

To avoid this side effect, patients are urged to take these medications in a manner approved by a doctor.

In many cases, this involves taking the medication with meals or a full glass of water or milk.

Some drugs, like acetaminophen, are generally softer in the stomach than others. Side effects associated with certain Antipyretics (fever reducers) and analgesics (analgesics), especially when taken in large doses, include:

  • Swelling, gas or heartburn.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation.
  • Ringing in the ears.

Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are generally safe when taken correctly. However, long-term uses of Acetaminophen or an overdose of the drug can cause liver failure.

Ibuprofen can cause a series of side effects, including indigestion (dyspepsia), gastrointestinal bleeding, and reduced renal (kidney) blood flow.

Other Antipyretics may also present specific risks for particular populations.

For example, children younger than 2 years who take Naproxen have a higher risk of developing a skin rash when using this medication.

Parents are urged not to give their children any painkillers until they have discussed possible side effects with a doctor, preferably a pediatrician.

The use of aspirin in children has been associated with Reyes syndrome, a rare but extremely serious condition that affects all organs of the body and can be fatal.

The danger is more present in children who take this analgesic when they have a viral infection, flu or chickenpox.

Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and behavior changes (such as increased belligerence).

For this reason, experts generally recommend that children and adolescents do not take aspirin.

Other Interactions

Before using antipyretics (fever reducers), patients are advised to inform their doctor if they have ever had an allergic reaction to any type of fever reducer, such as acetaminophen, aspirin or other salicylates (eg, methylsalicylate). .

People are also urged to tell their doctor if they have ever had a reaction to any other medication.

Medications that can affect treatment with antipyretics include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiepileptics
  • Antinflamatorios.
  • Antidepressants
  • Depressants of the central nervous system (CNS).
  • Corticosteroids
  • Medicines for diarrhea.
  • Diuretics
  • Oral antidiabetics
  • Urinary alkalizers.

Prevention

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use fever-reducing medicine without first consulting a doctor.

For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Other medications, such as acetaminophen, can be safe.

Use in Children

Children should take fever reducers only as prescribed by a doctor.

Infant formulations should be used: children should never receive a smaller portion of an adult medication.

Certain drugs pose health problems in children.

For example, children younger than 2 years who take naproxen have a higher risk of developing a skin rash when using this medication.

Children 6 months or younger should not take ibuprofen.

Primordial Use

Generally, elderly patients can use fever reducers safely.

However, they may be more sensitive to the medication and, therefore, may require an adjustment in their dosage level.

Older patients are urged to consult a doctor before taking fever-reducing medications.