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Tylenol may raise infection risk in babies after vaccination

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By Rachel Stockton - rachels at foodconsumer dot org

Saturday Oct 17, 2009 (foodconsumer.org) -- Tylenol and generic painkillers containing acetaminophen got another hit this week as the result of a study in the Czech Republic.  Clinical trials were conducted to determine what effect, if any, giving acetaminophen to infants to prevent fever after their vaccinations had on their immune response rates.

The journal Lancet is reporting that after both the initial vaccine shots and the booster shots, the immune response was lower among babies who were given acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol right after they were immunized. 

It is often that parents are encouraged by their pediatricians to give Tylenol or similar painkillers to their babies to reduce soreness at the vaccine shot site as well as to reduce a rise in temperature that is fairly common, post-vaccination.

The study focused on Tylenol solely as a prophylactic, or a preventive measure against fever, not on whether or not it affected immune response if given only if their fevers began to rise.  For the studies, one group of infants was given immunizations only; the other group was given acetaminophen before the immunization.

Those who took the medication prior to vaccine shots were 42% less likely to develop a fever; however, those children had an overall lower immune response rate.

Fevers serve a purpose, and according to this research, curbing it may keep the body from producing as many antibodies as it would if it was left unchecked.

Further study is needed to determine if the reduction in immune response is significant or not.

Some physicians discourage their patients from taking a fever reducer unless their fever gets too dangerously high. 

A study out of the University of Maryland Medical School and School of Pharmacy seemed to indicate that those who took fever reducers like Tylenol when they had influenza type A were actually sick longer than those who left their fevers unchecked.  

"Our research suggests that fever may have different roles in the resolution of bacterial and viral infections," Karen I. Plaisance, PharmD, coauthor of the study and associate professor at the School of Pharmacy was quoted by mercola.com as saying.



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