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J Pediatr. 1989 Jun;114(6):1045-8.

Acetaminophen: more harm than good for chickenpox?

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1
Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether acetaminophen affects the duration or severity of childhood varicella.

DESIGN:

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

SETTING:

Office- and hospital-based pediatric practices.

PATIENTS:

Seventy-two children between 1 and 12 years of age entered the study. One child was withdrawn because of high fever, and three children did not complete the study; 31 received placebo and 37 received acetaminophen.

INTERVENTIONS:

Acetaminophen, 10 mg/kg/dose, was given at 8 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM, and 8 PM for 4 days. Placebo was given to the control group. Itching, appetite, activity, and overall condition were measured for 6 days. The time to last vesicle formation, time to total scabbing, and time to total healing were measured until complete resolution of the exanthem.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

The following results were better in the placebo group (p less than .05): time to total scabbing 5.6 days (SD 2.5) versus 6.7 days (SD 2.3) in the acetaminophen group, and itching on day 4 in the placebo group (symptom score 2.9 (SD 0.20) vs 2.2 (SD 0.26]. Activity was better in the acetaminophen group on day 2 (3.13 (SD 0.23) vs 2.82 (SD 0.24].

CONCLUSIONS:

These results provide evidence that acetaminophen does not alleviate symptoms in children with varicella and may prolong illness.

PMID:
2656959
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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