Drugs for Fever before A Shot
People have been giving their infants and children drugs to
reduce fever for many years. The practice seems quite
natural at this point.
But we would like to remind everyone that every drug
that does something sought can do something unintended, too.
Given that, we always recommend not giving your child
any drug, unless the need justifies the risk.
This rule is important to keep in mind when trying to decide
whether to give your infant a drug to prevent fever prior to
getting a shot. The most commonly used drugs are
acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
So let's see what the chance of getting a fever is with and
without these drugs. It turns out that if you are getting one of the
shots in the first series of shots, all the shots for children
under 7 months of age are in a first series, your chance of
getting a fever after any of these shots at all is 66%.
If you get the drug before the shot, about 42% of children still
get a fever!
For booster shots, the comparable numbers are 58% and
That means acetaminophen and ibuprofen have a 66-74%
failure rate in attempting to prevent fever after a shot.
That is a very high rate for a drug to fail, and makes the case
for not using drugs before shots to prevent fever, since they
are more likely to fail than work.
There were also some reports that use of these drugs drops the
level of antibody produced by the shot, although the level remains
protective and adequate.
So now we have three reasons not to use fever drugs before
- These drugs fail more often than succeed in preventing fever.
- They appear to block antibody formation, at least to a small degree
- They carry the risk of side effects
We recommend that you do not use fever drugs prior to
immunization with the exception of unusual medical
reasons to do so.
Dr. Arthur Lavin
The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.