Flu treatment news: Paracetamol has no effect on flu, according to study

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During cold season, it is common to have family members suffering from cold, while some would have slight fever and even flu. Majority of people are aware that symptoms include, sneezing, sore throat, coughing, blocked nose, headache and fever and the most common remedy is taking paracetamol. However, according to the latest study conducted by a group of researchers in New Zealand, paracetamol cannot treat flu.

Dr. Irene Braithwaite of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand led a research study and found out that paracetamol cannot relieve symptoms of flu or decrease the volume of flu-causing virus among the patients. This was the result of the study which the group has conducted to 80 patients with influenza infection.

According to the study that was consequently published in Respirology Journal, half of the patients were given 1,000 milligrams of paracetamol four times a days for five consecutive days, while the remaining 40 patients were given a similar placebo. The result: the viral load of the patients and the symptoms were totally unaffected even after being treated with paracetamol. As concluded in the study, the evidence of using the medicine for the treatment of influenza infection remains insufficient.

According to Braithwaite, the findings proved to be important since there are over 200,000 flu patients in New Zealand each year and often, these patients are advised to get enough rest, increase their fluid consumption and take paracetamol. The early theory before they conducted the study was, paracetamol can be harmful since it can decrease body temperature, and influenza virus is known to thrive more easily on low body temperature. However, the study showed that there was no remarkable difference in body temperatures of patients who were given paracetamol versus those who were on placebo treatment.

Dr. Braithwaite warned that making endorsement for or against paracetamol use among adult with influenza or influenza-like symptoms should not be based on the result of their study.

As reported by Scimex, Dr. Braithwaite said, “Given the findings it is even more important that those at risk, particularly pregnant women, the very young, the old, and those with chronic medical conditions should have the annual influenza vaccination.”

The research study was being funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand with the collaboration efforts of the following: Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Capital & Coast District Health Board, Canterbury Health Laboratories and University of Otago, Wellington.