Background: antipyretic drugs are routinely administered to febrile patients with infection in secondary care. However, the use of antipyretics to suppress fever during infection remains a controversial topic within the literature. It is argued that fever suppression may interfere with the body's natural defence mechanisms, and may worsen patient outcomes.
Method: a literature review was undertaken to determine whether the administration of antipyretic drugs to adult patients with infection and fever, in secondary care, improves or worsens patient outcomes.
Results: contrasting results were reported; two studies demonstrated improved patient outcomes following antipyretic administration, while several studies demonstrated increased mortality risk associated with antipyretics and/or demonstrated fever's benefits during infection. Results also demonstrated that health professionals continue to view fever as deleterious.
Conclusion: the evidence does not currently support routine antipyretic administration. Considering patients' comorbidities and symptoms of their underlying illness will promote safe, evidence-based and appropriate administration of antipyretics.
Keywords: Adults; Antipyretics; Fever; Ibuprofen; Infection; Paracetamol.