Aim: To evaluate the administration of antipyretics to children with upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) by their parents or guardians without consultation with physicians, and compare epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients who received antipyretics and of untreated patients. Methods: A prospective observational study was performed in three pediatric clinics in Zagreb, Croatia, from March to June 2002. A total of 171 children aged from 2 to 14 years with symptoms and signs of URTI lasting more than 2 days and fever above 38°C lasting more than 2 days were included in the study. Data were collected on the usage of antipyretics, patients' demographic and epidemiological characteristics, and clinical signs and symptoms. Results: Antipyretics, predominantly paracetamol, were used in 29.8% of patients. Their usage was less frequent in children attending day-care centers (49% of treated and 70% of untreated children, P = 0.014) and in children with reiterated URTIs (33.3% of treated and 55.8% of untreated children, P = 0.008). However, it was more frequent in children with recent URTIs in the family (33.3% of treated and 7.5% of untreated children, P <0.001). Overall, most clinical signs and symptoms of URTI were notably less pronounced in patients treated with antipyretics. Conclusions Antipyretics use correlated with less pronounced clinical signs and symptoms of infection, which indicates their anti-inflammatory activity, but also with negative effects such as lethargy. It is necessary to educate parents on the positive and negative aspects of antipyretics use and on the optimal choice of an antipyretic drug.
ASJC Scopus subject areas