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Alternating Tylenol and Motrin for fever

Posted Sep 22 2008 5:36pm 2 Comments

Many parents ask whether it is okay to alternate Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) when their child has a fever. This concern usually stems from a parent who worries that the fever is dangerous. It's not. It's just the body's way of mounting an immune response. We promise your child will not self-destruct if he has a fever.

Is it okay to alternate fever reducing medicine? Yes. Is it helpful? No. A new study from the British Medical Journal looked at this question and found the following results: Giving ibuprofen AND acetaminophen in rotating doses over a 24 hour period only brought the body temperature down for 1.5 hours more than giving just ibuprofen around the clock for 24 hours.

Since it doesn't make a huge difference, we continue to suggest the recommendations in both our Baby 411 and Toddler 411 books: For babies over six months of age, stick with ibuprofen for fever, dosed every 6-8 hours. It works better and lasts longer than acetaminophen. And there is really no need or use to alternate two fever reducing medications.

Comments (2)
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Ok I have been told by several Dr.'s and ER Dr.'s that it was ok to mix the two and since our son has been teething since 6 months he gets fevers. At one point his fever was not breaking for 3 days after giving him both doses and I called his Dr. to ask what else we could do. I told her everything I was giving him, how much and when..She never said it was a bad idea to mix or that i wasn't giving him we had to take him to the ER because his fever was over 104..there they weighed him, took his temp. and said we weren't giving him enough motrin and tylenol, so they mixed both and gave it to him..within 20 min. he was sweating...can someone please explain to me why people are telling us different stories.. I'm so fustrated with Dr.'s, FDA and everyone telling us that these are facts and then 2-5 years down the road it's a completly different story!!!! please tell me I'm not the only one that doesn't trust Dr.'s anymore...i'm losing my mind over this...this is my child for christ's sakes
Wow ... finally someone with my point of view. Brenda I really understand your frustration and join you in this quest to learn the right way to help our children when they need us.  I have very little trust left for all the doctors as their comments and suggestions are always vague  and confusing.  Everyone is so bloody afraid to make any decisions because people sue people for everything.
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