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Professor Crane, paracetamol, asthma and fever - again!

Hilary Butler - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear Professor Crane,  In my print copy of the Herald (attached) the following comment is attributable to you: “The benefits of paracetamol for fever control still outweigh the potential of later allergy development..” and…”there were few other options for fever control in young children.” and ... that you don’t know how paracetamol is causing allergies.

The use of paracetamol for fever control, is immunologically irrational according to the medical research. All the of medical literature shows that paracetamol, which can reduce fever in some people, but fortunately, not in most, does so by down-regulating very important parts of the inate immune system – (ome of which are used in the allergy process), resulting in advantage to the pathogen.

You say there are no alternatives to fever control. Firstly, why does the medical profession believe that parents need to control infectious fevers in the first place? And if there is considered a “need” to reduce a fever, then why not use the methods that parents may have used, who have children 30 years and older, and who have NEVER used paracetamol at all?

The medical literature tells us that fever is a very important adaptive advantage for the host, and has a pre-programmed immunological process which up-regulates the immune system in order to help the person throw off the pathogens causing fever, and to survive better.

Not all doctors are continuing the dogma of infectious fever control in the face of thirty years evidence against it’s use.

Have you read this study from your Capital Coast colleagues, by logging into your extensive Otago university databases, and discovering what we have known for years, … which is that perhaps you SHOULDN’T treat infectious fever?

You say you don’t know how paracetamol might cause allergy. There are two papers Shalabi 92 and Shalabi 96, which should give you some important clues as to a mechanism which could be related to how paracetamol causes asthma. It’s a tragedy that after the publication of these two papers, scientists did not follow this trail further. Might that have been orchestrated by the manufacturers not wanting researchers to do that? After all, paracetamol has been bread and butter for Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and all the others who have made it a “trusted and heritage” drug in this country. Based on what I have, on the last 40 years research on paracetamol, I could hazard a guess at why paracetamol causes asthma. I would put it simply. Repeated use of paracetamol epigenetically alters how the immune system works, by teaching the body an inappropriate immune-control process.

Will it take 40 years of various study methods, to prove that?

This is something that IAS, and myself have publicly discussed for years – ON THE BASIS of medical literature freely available to you through the Otago Medical School database.

If I sound annoyed and frustrated, that is because I am perturbed that someone who is specifically studying paracetamol, would appear to be unaware of a vast body of medical literature; would appears not to know that Dr Frank Shann, Intensive Care Unit, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne , has consistently said since 1995, that use of paracetamol in infectious fever has neither medical justification, nor scientific/immunological rationale.  I am incredulous, that you seem to be unaware that since 2001, WHO has said the same thing.

Flesh eating necrotizing fasciitis is on the rise, and that too is linked with constant NSAID use. Can’t the dots be joined??!!

As far as I am concerned, the continuing rampant prescription of needless antibiotics, and parents being encouraged to continue to unjustifiably use paracetamol for the use of infectious fevers, is one of the primary reasons we have such a high iatrogenic rates of asthma in this country.

But more than anything else, Professor Crane, I help parents cope with the fallout from when they go to places like Starship hospital, and refuse or challenge, the use of paracetamol for the slightest infectious fever. They all tell me when they tell the staff why they don’t want it used, they get treated like idiotic criminals, and are told that to not bring down a fever is paramount to child abuse.

This letter will go up as another blog on my website, with links to my previous blog here which has in full correspondence with other world “experts” who, also appear to suffer from systemic reading deficit.

Parents in this country deserve better.


Hilary Butler.

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