Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Children "should not be given common painkiller after a vaccine"

Paracetamol, found in Calpol, can reduce the effectiveness of the injections, researchers have found.
As well as a painkiller, the drug is used to prevent fever, which can be a side effect of vaccines, as the body responds to the jab.The team behind the study believe that paracetamol could limit how the immune system responds to the vaccination.The drugs effects could leave children underprotected when they come into contact with dangerous diseases in the future.The study tested the effectiveness of vaccines for flu, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and polio if children had been given the painkiller as well.The research found that the children had significantly lower numbers of antibodies, the immune systems response to infection, in those given paracetamol for 24 hours after the jab.
Prof Roman Prymula, from the University of Defence in the Czech Republic, who led the study, said: "To our knowledge, such an effect of paracetamol on post-immunisation immune responses has not been documented before.”
Researchers gave the drug to 226 children every six to eight hours for 24 hours after the vaccination.They then compared the findings with those from 223 children who had the same injections but were not given the painkiller.The research team also analysed 10 previous studies on the effects of paracetamol, which confirmed their findings, which have been published in the Lancet medical journal....

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