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Keywords:

  • antipyretic;
  • children;
  • prescription;
  • antipyretic combination;
  • paracetamol;
  • ibuprofen

Abstract

Purpose

To analyse antipyretics (APs) prescriptions profile in children, particularly the frequency of AP combinations.

Methods

APs (acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol, ibuprofen or ketoprofen) prescribed to children below 12 years and refunded by a public health insurer in 2003, throughout France, were examined.

Results

A total of 513 034 prescriptions were refunded for 240 720 children. The mean number of AP prescriptions per child was the highest in children aged 6 months to 2 years. Paracetamol was the main AP prescribed, but its prescription declined with age, from 90.8% below 3 months old to 57.4% between 6 and 12 years old. Ibuprofen-only prescriptions were rare below 3 months and maximal between 2 and 6 years. The ibuprofen/paracetamol combination was prescribed from 6 months old, and its frequency was maximal between 2 and 6 years old (21.7%).

Conclusions

The clear predominance of paracetamol prescriptions suggests that French prescribers are relatively aware of the relative risk-benefit ratio of the different APs. Studies are required to determine if the APs are prescribed to be used alternately or when a monotherapy fails. Guidelines to manage fever in children are needed in France to restrict APs combination to the case of paracetamol failure. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.