Randomized, controlled, multicentre clinical trial of the antipyretic effect of intravenous paracetamol in patients admitted to hospital with infection
No randomized study has been conducted to investigate the use of intravenous paracetamol (acetaminophen, APAP) for the management of fever due to infection. The present study evaluated a new ready-made infusion of paracetamol.METHODS
Eighty patients with a body temperature onset ≥38.5°C in the previous 24 h due to infection were randomized to a single administration of placebo (n = 39) or 1 g paracetamol (n = 41), and their temperature was recorded at standard intervals. Rescue medication with 1 g paracetamol was allowed. Serum samples were collected for the measurement of APAP and its metabolites. The primary endpoint was defervescence, defined as a core temperature ≤37.1°C.RESULTS
During the first 6 h, defervescence was achieved in 15 (38.5%) patients treated with placebo compared with 33 (80.5%) patients treated with paracetamol 1 g (P < 0.0001). The median time to defervescence with paracetamol 1 g was 3 h. Rescue medication was given to 15 (38.5%) and five (12.2%) patients allocated to placebo and paracetamol, respectively (P = 0.007); nine (60.0%) and two (40.0%) of these patients, respectively, experienced defervescence. No further antipyretic medication was needed for patients becoming afebrile with rescue medication. Serum glucuronide-APAP concentrations were significantly greater in the serum of patients who did not experience defervescence with paracetamol. The efficacy of paracetamol was not affected by serum creatinine. No drug-related adverse events were reported.CONCLUSIONS
The 1 g paracetamol formulation has a rapid and sustainable antipyretic effect on fever due to infection. Its efficacy is dependent on hepatic metabolism.