Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Antipyretic drugs for children

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 29 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:4

Rapid Response:

What is the alternative?

What is the alternative?

In an otherwise comprehensive article by Hay et al (1) about fever
management in children, authors did not mention about the complementary
and alternative medicine options for fever control in children. Study done
by Lee et al in Boston had shown that many patients using alternative
therapies including homeopathy and naturopathy are children (2). Armishaw
et al had shown that a substantial proportion of children hospitalised
with acute medical illnesses had received complementary treatment and
alternative health care was used as an adjunct rather than an alternative
to conventional health care (3). Receipt of complementary treatment had no
significant effect on clinical outcomes for children hospitalised with
common acute medical illnesses. Derasse et al had compared the effect of a
complex homeopathic medicine (Viburcol, Heel Belgium, Gent, Belgium) with
that of Paracetamol in children less than 12 years with infectious fever
(4). They have found that Viburcol is an effective alternative treatment
to Paracetamol for fever control and it was significantly better
tolerated. Parents and practitioners should remember that complementary
and alternative treatment is not without its own side effects (5). Finally
whatever be the method used for fever control, practitioners and parents
should be aware that response to antipyretics does not rule out serious
bacterial illnesses.

Competing interests to declare: none

Dr.Rafeeq Muhammed Paediatric registrar, University Hospital of North
Durham, Durham email


1. Alastair D Hay, Niamh Redmond, Margaret Fletcher. Antipyretic
drugs for children BMJ 2006; 333; 4-5
2. Lee AC, Kemper KJHomeopathy and naturopathy: practice characteristics
and pediatric care. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000 Jan; 154(1):75-80.
3. Armishaw J, Grant CC Use of complementary treatment by those
hospitalised with acute illness. Arch Dis Child. 1999 Aug; 81(2):133-7.
4. Derasse M, Klein P, Weiser M The effects of a complex homeopathic
medicine compared with acetaminophen in the symptomatic treatment of acute
febrile infections in children: an observational study. Explore (NY). 2005
Jan; 1(1):33-9.
5. Chowdhury AD, Oda M, Markus AF, Kirita T, Choudhury CR Herbal medicine
induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome: a case report. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2004
May; 14(3):204-7

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 July 2006
Rafeeq Muhammed
Specialist Registrar in Paediatrics
University Hospital of North durham, Durham DH1 5TW