Tylenol & Vaccines: Maybe Not A Good Combo?

There’s a very provocative new study in Lancet which may change my clinical practice. As parents know, vaccines are not a fun time for their children, and many doctors recommend pain medicines like Tylenol or Motrin with the vaccines. Now, unfortunately, there is good data from this new study that Tylenol (AKA acetaminophen, Panadol) may be blunting a very important biological immune response which helps to create protective antibodies. It seems that the low-grade fever after vaccines is crucial for stimulating our healthy immune response, and Tylenol is blocking that. Their conclusion:

Although febrile reactions significantly decreased, prophylactic administration of antipyretic drugs at the time of vaccination should not be routinely recommended since antibody responses to several vaccine antigens were reduced.

Article abstract: Effect of prophylactic paracetamol administration at time of vaccination on febrile reactions and antibody responses in children: two open-label, randomised controlled trials : The Lancet.

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3 thoughts on “Tylenol & Vaccines: Maybe Not A Good Combo?”

  1. Do you know anything about the safety of the vaccinations available for infants and children locally? We've looked into going to an international clinic (SOS, here in Tianjin) for the vaccination…this has the benefit of not only being imported, but also having the combined shots available. This option is, however, extremely expensive. We also have friends (also expats) that take their kids to the local hospitals and clinics for vaccinations…no combined shots available, but much less expensive. My concern though, is that I'm not sure about the safety of these vaccinations. Do you have two cents on the matter that you'd be willing to share?

    1. I would be hesitant to use local vaccines. We would only recommend imported vaccines. There’s just no way we can officially guarantee effectiveness. And there are issues sometimes with vaccine safety. For example, I’ve seen recent reports that a few batches of local rabies vaccine were not effective.

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