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Published on 15 April 2009

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Paracetamol may help with stroke

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Stroke patients with high body temperatures could be helped by receiving early doses of paracetamol, according to a new study.

High temperatures in the first 12 to 24 hours after a stroke begins is associated with poor functional outcomes. However these patients responded well to taking paracetamol in doses up to six grams per day, the PAIS study, reported in The Lancet Neurology, indicated.

In the trial, 1,400 patients with stroke or haemorrhage and body temperatures of 36°C-39°C were randomly treated with paracetamol (six grams daily) or a placebo within 12 hours from symptoms starting.

The researchers found that 37% of patients receiving paracetamol and 33% of those receiving placebo improved, but the difference was not statistically significant.

However, in an analysis of patients with a body temperature of 37-39°C, 40% of patients given paracetamol improved beyond expectation compared with 31% of placebo patients — a finding which was judged to be statistically significant.

Thus one in every 11 patients treated with paracetamol would improve beyond expectation in this body temperature range.

The authors conclude: “Although the PAIS trial does not provide sufficient evidence to support routine use of high-dose paracetamol in patients with acute stroke, its results are promising.”

Copyright Press Association

The Lancet Neurology



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