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Which is more effective to reduce fevers in kids - suppositories or tablets?

By January 14, 2009 - 3:56pm
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In general, some of my kids as ok chewing a pediatric chewable fever-reducer, but it makes others throw up so we use a rectal suppository that they hardly feel going in.

Does anyone know if one is more effective than the other?


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Bargain Lover,

I assume you are talking about the benefits of using a fever-reducer, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, in either a tablet or suppository form. There are also liquid-forms of both medicines.

The answer is: it depends on the age of the child, as well as if they are vomiting, dehydrated and how well they tolerate each type of "avenue".

Our (personal) pediatrician recommends the liquid form of fever-reducing medicine for our 2-year old. He drinks it from a cup (the younger kids can "drink" it from the dropper/syringe provided). When our toddler was a year old and crying too much to take anything orally, our pediatrician recommended the suppository-type. Both types worked within 15 minutes; I did not notice a difference.

I was not able to find any literature regarding "which type works best", as each one has a different dosage (based on if it is liquid form, dissolvable, chewable, suppository, etc). I believe the type that works best is the type your child tolerates best!

Next time I'm at the pharmacy, I'll ask the pharmacist if one type is better than the other, and report back.

January 15, 2009 - 1:47pm

In addition to the above information, according to Dr. Spock at drspock.com, "Rectal suppositories are not generally the first choice at this age. However, they are very quick and easy. More than half the parents I talk to shudder at the thought, and there are definitely toddlers who won't tolerate insertion of a suppository.

However, when children are very sick, vomiting, or refuse other forms of medicine, this is a reasonable alternative if medication is necessary to bring down a fever."

For more information read, "Fever: Nine Months to Three Years:"

January 14, 2009 - 5:03pm

I am unsure which of these methods are more effective, but I would lean toward tablets. Suppositories can easily cause dehydration and when a child is suffering from a fever, it is important they are receiving enough fluids without losing extra.

Additionally, while suppositories may help reduce your child's fever, their purpose is to be used as a laxative for constipation rather than a fever-reducer.

January 14, 2009 - 4:54pm
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