Mixing Meds to Fight My Child’s Fever

Q. My 8 year old daughter had a high fever. A friend of mine told me that I could alternate ibuprofen with acetaminophen to help lower her fever. Is that true and if so, how should I give it to her? She weighs approximately 65 pounds.

A. Modern anti-pyretics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen treat fever very effectively. Accurate dosing is important to prevent the potential for liver toxicity with acetaminophen and kidney toxicity with ibuprofen. Many national experts discourage alternating these two fever reducers since, under stressful circumstances with sleep-deprived parents, accidents in dosage can easily occur.

Acetaminophen is dosed 10 – 15 mg. / Kg. (or 5 – 6 mg. per pound) every 4 – 6 hours. Ibuprofen is dosed 5 – 10 mg. / Kg/ (or 3 – 4 mg. per pound) every 6 – 8 hours. Fever itself is rarely dangerous to children and in some cases, such as influenza, can be beneficial to deter the multiplication of the virus. Prolonged fever needs to be investigated as to its cause.

Marian G. May, M.D.

Highland Pediatrics

4519 Hixson Pike, Hixson, TN 37343