Background: Prophylactic antipyretic administration decreases the post-vaccination adverse reactions. Recent study finds that they may also decrease the antibody responses to several vaccine antigens. This systematic review aimed to assess the evidence for a relationship between prophylactic antipyretic administration, post-vaccination adverse events, and antibody response in children.
Methods: A systematic search of major databases including MEDLINE and EMBASE was carried out till March 2014. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing prophylactic antipyretic treatment versus placebo post-vaccination in children ≤ 6 years of age were included. Two reviewers independently applied eligibility criteria, assessed the studies for methodological quality, and extracted data [PROSPERO registration: CRD42014009717].
Results: Of 2579 citations retrieved, a total of 13 RCTs including 5077 children were included in the review. Prophylactic antipyretic administration significantly reduced the febrile reactions (≥ 38.0 °C) after primary and booster vaccinations. Though there were statistically significant differences in the antibody responses between the two groups, the prophylactic PCM group had what would be considered protective levels of antibodies to all of the antigens given after the primary and booster vaccinations. No significant difference in the nasopharyngeal carriage rates (short-term and long-term) of H. influenzae or S. pneumoniae serotypes was found between the prophylactic and no prophylactic PCM group. There was a significant reduction in the local and systemic symptoms after primary, but not booster vaccinations.
Conclusions: Though prophylactic antipyretic administration leads to relief of the local and systemic symptoms after primary vaccinations, there is a reduction in antibody responses to some vaccine antigens without any effect on the nasopharyngeal carriage rates of S. pneumoniae & H. influenza serotypes. Future trials and surveillance programs should also aim at assessing the effectiveness of programs where prophylactic administration of PCM is given. The timing of administration of antipyretics should be discussed with the parents after explaining the benefits & risks.