The most commonly prescribed drug for cold and flu, paracetamol may not reduce the symptoms completely, revealed a new study.
A study by the New Zealand Medical Research Institute has revealed that paracetamol will not induce any effects on the cold and flu symptoms, but it will not make them sick for longer. The study was published in the Journal Respirology
‘There was no difference between the paracetamol and placebo groups in terms of severity, duration, temperature, or viral-load, which indicates paracetamol has no beneficial effect on cold and flu.
Researchers analyzed the severity and duration of flu symptoms in 80 people taking either paracetamol or a placebo. They found that there was no difference between the paracetamol and placebo groups in terms of severity, duration, temperature, or viral-load, which indicates paracetamol had no beneficial effect.
As influenza virus cannot replicate at higher temperatures researchers are concerned that paracetamol may prolong the illness in affected people.
"Paracetamol was neither harmful nor beneficial. We found that it did not significantly reduce temperatures compared to a placebo and did not make the participants feel any better." said Dr Irene Braithwaite, a senior investigator.
However, Dr Braithwaite said a recommendation for or against the use of paracetamol by adults with flu-symptoms could not be made based on these results.
"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," he added.