A common pain-reliever drug, acetaminophen (Tylenol), has no benefits when it comes to the flu, according to new findings. Doctors may prescribe acetaminophen to help relieve a patient’s symptoms, but a recent trial found no benefits in regards to improving symptoms or fighting the flu virus.
The study consisted of adults between 18 and 65 years of age who had confirmed influenza. Patients either received a dosage of paracetamol (another name for acetaminophen) or a placebo over the course of five days.
Co-author Dr. Irene Braithwaite said, “We initially theorized that taking paracetamol might be harmful, as the influenza virus cannot replicate as well at higher temperatures, and by reducing a person’s temperature the virus may have thrived. Fortunately this was found not be the case. In this study, paracetamol was not harmful, but we also found that paracetamol was not beneficial either.”
“One of the things we need to take from this, though, is that those at risk – particularly pregnant women, the very young, the old, and those with chronic medical conditions – should have the annual influenza vaccination as it confers the best protection available against the influenza virus,” she concluded.