In the midst of Flu season people are always looking for a quick remedy to cure their symptoms and stop the flu as quickly as possible. One of the most common flu symptoms is a fever and often to combat the fever people are told to take antipyretics like acetaminophen or Tylenol. A research group in New Zeland studied the effectiveness of antipyretics like paracetamol on treating the flu. They chose this study because creating a fever is a natural and physiological adaptation that happens in the body that is actually a survival benefit. In addition, they chose to do this study because many antipyretics are actually harmful to animals and increase their chances of infection and even mortality.
The study conducted was both double blind and randomized and the participants were between the ages of 18 and 65. Half of the patients were given a placebo and the other half of the patients were given 1 gram of paracetamol four times a day. After a full week of recording the patients symptoms and examining the area under the curve of a PCR viral load it was found that there were 22 participants in the placebo group that were found to have influenza positive-PCR. In addition, 24 participants in the paracetamol group tested positive for PCR influenza. Based on these results, the research study concluded that antipyretics like paracetamol were not effective in treating the flu/flu-like symptoms. Thus the researchers recommended other treatments as no real benefit was seen.
I feel as if studies like this are extremely helpful for all health care professionals to know about. Whether you are a pharmacist, a nurse, a doctor, or just a patient, the flu is so common that it is important that we know how to treat it. I truly believe that many people think treating the flu with medications like this is helpful. Therefore, assignments like this blog show how important it is to keep up on new research and literature so that we can give our patients the best care possible.
Jefferies, S., Braithwaite, I., Walker, S., Weatherall, M., Jennings, L., Luck, M., Barrett, K., Siebers, R., Blackmore, T., Beasley, R., Perrin, K. and Pi Study Group (2016), Randomized controlled trial of the effect of regular paracetamol on influenza infection. Respirology, 21: 370–377.