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Guidance Given for Antipyretic Use in Febrile Children

Researchers stress importance of comfort over temperature normalization

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Antipyretics should be used judiciously when treating children with fever, and the goal should be the child's comfort rather than normal temperature, according to a clinical report published online Feb. 28 in Pediatrics.

Janice E. Sullivan, M.D., Henry C. Farrar, M.D., and the American Academy of Pediatrics' Section on Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Committee on Drugs report on the use of antipyretics to treat fever in children.

The authors write that fever is an infection-fighting mechanism, and that the primary goal in treating fever should be maximizing the child's comfort rather than normalizing temperature. Physicians should counsel parents and caregivers to monitor the child's activity, encourage hydration, watch for signs of serious illness, and store antipyretics safely. There appear to be no differences between acetaminophen and ibuprofen in terms of safety and effectiveness. The agents may be more effective combined, but combination treatment may contribute to unsafe use of the drugs.

"Pediatricians should also promote patient safety by advocating for simplified formulations, dosing instructions, and dosing devices," the authors write.

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