High-dose paracetamol "may help stroke patients"
The finding suggests the common pain reliever, which is known as acetaminophen in the United States, should be considered as a cheap and widespread stroke therapy.
A temperature above 37 degrees Celsius immediately after a stroke is known to worsen the prognosis, with the odds of a poor outcome doubling for every degree increase. About a third of stroke patients have temperatures above 37.5.
Paracetamol at a daily dose of 6 grams reduces body temperature by about 0.3 degrees.
Doctors from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam carried out a 1,400-patient study comparing outcomes for stroke patients given paracetamol and a placebo.
They found that 40 percent of patients with a baseline body temperature of 37-39 degrees given paracetamol improved beyond expectations.
Writing in the journal Lancet Neurology, Heleen den Hertog and colleagues said the results needed further confirmation in a larger study but that paracetamol could be a simple, safe and cheap treatment for strokes.