Open Access Research article

An open-label randomized clinical trial of prophylactic paracetamol coadministered with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and hexavalent diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, 3-component acellular pertussis, hepatitis B, inactivated poliovirus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine

Markus A Rose1*, Christine Juergens2, Beate Schmoele-Thoma2, William C Gruber3, Sherryl Baker4 and Stefan Zielen1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatric Pulmonology/Allergy/Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital, Goethe University, Theodor Stern Kai 7, Frankfurt/Main, 60590, Germany

2 Pfizer Pharma GmbH, Berlin, Germany

3 Pfizer Vaccine Research, Pearl River, NY, USA

4 Former employee, Pfizer Vaccine Research, Pearl River, NY, USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-98

Published: 21 June 2013



In two clinical trials, low-grade fever was observed more frequently after coadministration than after separate administration of two recommended routine pediatric vaccines. Since fever is an important issue with vaccine tolerability, we performed this open-label study on the efficacy and safety of prophylactic use of paracetamol (acetaminophen, Benuron®) in children administered routine 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) coadministered with hexavalent vaccine (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-hepatitis B, poliovirus, Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine [DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib]) in Germany.


Healthy infants (N = 301) who received a 3-dose infant series of PCV-7 and DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib plus a toddler dose were randomly assigned 1:1 to prophylactic paracetamol (125 mg or 250 mg suppositories, based on body weight) at vaccination, and at 6–8 hour intervals thereafter, or a control group that received no paracetamol. Rectal temperature and local and other systemic reactions were measured for 4 days post vaccination; adverse events were collected throughout the study.


In the intent-to-treat population, paracetamol reduced the incidence of fever ≥38°C, but this reduction was only significant for the infant series, with computed efficacy of 43.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 17.4, 61.2), and not significant after the toddler dose (efficacy 15.9%; 95% CI: −19.9, 41.3); results were similar in the per protocol (PP) population. Fever >39°C was rare during the infant series, such that there were too few cases for assessment. After the toddler dose, paracetamol effectively reduced fever >39°C, reaching statistical significance in the PP population only (efficacy 79%; 95% CI: 3.9, 97.7). Paracetamol also reduced reactogenicity, but there were few significant differences between groups after any dose. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported.


Paracetamol effectively prevented fever and other reactions, mainly during the infant series. However, as events were generally mild and of no concern in either group our data support current recommendations to administer paracetamol to treat symptoms only and not for routine prophylaxis.

Trial registration


Fever; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Hexavalent vaccine; Paracetamol; Prophylaxis