Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) and infant vaccines.

I've had a lot of questions on this topic lately so I thought I should make a quick post.

Basically, there was a European study published in 2009 that investigated the response to acetaminophen after vaccination in young infants. The investigators compared the fever rate and the antibody immune response of infants who did and did not receive acetaminophen after the shots. They found that the infants who got 3 doses of acetaminophen in the first 24 hours after receiving vaccines had lower rates of fever, BUT their antibody immune response was lower than the response of the infants in the study who did not get acetaminophen.

Take home message: giving acetaminophen will reduce fever risk, but it also lowers the immune response. It is not clear if this "blunted" immune response is clinically significant. I have not advised that parents pre-medicate with acetaminophen (or ibuprofen for children 6 mo or older) even before this study. At least until more information is available, I would only give acetaminophen after the vaccines are given if the infant is more than mildly uncomfortable.

Check out this link:

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