Paracetamol for children

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In this article

  • What is
  • When it is indicated
  • How it is administered
  • The recommended dosage
  • Possible side effects
  • When it is not indicated

What is

Paracetamol is the most widely used drug for treating fever in children. It is also effective as a pain reliever. It is an over-the-counter drug (available without a prescription); there are various trade names and various formulations:

  • drops
  • syrup
  • compress
  • buccal sachets and flash tab tablets 
  • suppositories
Read also: Ibuprofen and paracetamol for children

When it is indicated

Il paracetamol it is considered the drug of first choice as an antifebrile in children, and can also be used as a pain reliever, since it is one of the active ingredients against which there are more studies in terms of safety and efficacy in pediatric age.

As for fever, the guidelines of the Del Paesena Society of Pediatrics remind us that it is a defense mechanism of the organism against infectious agents. Therefore, antipyretics should only be used when fever is accompanied by signs of general malaise

The conditions that most frequently can cause pain in the child, if necessary to be treated with drugs, are:

  • sore throat;
  • headache;
  • earache;
  • toothache;
  • trauma;
  • post surgical pain.

How it is administered

As anticipated, paracetamol is available in various formulations. In general it is preferable taking it orally, Why:

  • gives the possibility of dosing the dosage with more precision;
  • guarantees a more regular absorption of the drug;
  • it tends to be more pleasing to the child than suppositories (which however can be used in particular situations, such as in case of vomiting).

In general, the drops are recommended for children from 0 to 7 kg, lo syrup for children from 7 kg upwards, the buccal sachets and compress flash tab 250 mg for children over 20 kg and 500 mg for children over 40 kg. 

Read also: How to get children to take medicine

What is the recommended dosage

The general advice is to follow what is indicated by the pediatrician and on the package leaflet of the medicine, taking into account the fact that the dose of drug to be taken varies according to weight of the child and NOT based on age. The package leaflets generally present tables with the indication of the volume in ml or the number of drops to be administered. If present, it is important to use the dispenser contained in the package, for a precise dosage. 

Il standard dosage and of 10-15mg/kg/dose for 4 or 6 administrations per day, every 4-6 hours; the maximum therapeutic dosage is 60 mg / kg / day in the child up to 3 months, 80 mg / kg / day in the child over 3 months of age.

The drug can be taken either on an empty stomach or a full stomach.

Possible side effects

Il paracetamol it is generally well tolerated. Among the ailments that can occur as a result of taking the drug are:

  • allergic reactions (redness of the skin, itching, difficulty breathing)
  • stomach upset
  • dizziness
  • yellowish discoloration of the skin.

When it is not indicated

In addition to cases in which the child is allergic or intolerant to the drug, paracetamol should not be used with the sole purpose of lowering fever (in case there is not also malaise) or with the aim of preventing febrile convulsions, because in this sense is not effective. Furthermore, it is necessary to evaluate whether the child is taking other medicines (because there may be contraindications) or if he has certain risk conditions to taking the drug, such as:

  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • malnutrition
  • family history of hepatotoxic reaction
  • conditions of prolonged fasting

A warning, valid for both paracetamol and ibuprofen: if the symptoms do not improve within 3-4 days, it is necessary to contact the pediatrician; in any case, therapy should not be continued beyond 5 days without consulting the doctor. 

Warning: absolutely avoid the combination or alternation of ibuprofen and paracetamol, because in both cases the risk of side effects increases

Sources for this article

  • The management of fever and pain in the pediatric age, in Pediatrics, 2022
  • consultancy from Clavenna, head of the Pharmacoepidemiology Unit of the Mario Negri Institute in our city

Questions and answers

What to do in case of fever in children?

Antizutto depends on age. If the baby is less than a month old, he should be taken to the emergency room as soon as possible. Between a month and a year, if it is in good general condition, just schedule a same day visit, even at the pediatrician. If it is older, it can be observed, at rest and by administering antipyretics if there is general malaise, but consult the doctor immediately if the fever is accompanied by a rapid worsening of the general condition. 

How much tachipirina to give to children?

Tachipirina is one of the trade names of the active ingredient acetaminophen. There are others (acetamol, efferalgan, sanipirina ...) in addition of course to the generic. The dosage depends on the weight: the standard dosage is 10-15 mg / kg / dose for 4 or 6 administrations per day, every 4-6 hours.

  • paracetamol children
  • fever medications
  • 3-5 children years
  • pain children
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