Ibuprofen and Chickpox: A Creepy Combination
A recent Washington State case-controlled study of chickenpox complicated by soft tissue infection, further confirmed a long suspected relationship between the use of ibuprofen, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and the subsequent development of necrotising fasciitis, a rare and often deadly streptococcal soft tissue infection.
The study found that the 19 children with chickenpox complicated by necrotising fasciitis were five times more likely than the 29 children in the control group to have been treated with ibuprofen prior to hospitalization. Those children with necrotising fasciitis complicated by renal insufficiency and/or streptococcal toxic shock were also more likely to have used ibuprofen. And, children who had been treated with ibuprofen had a longer duration of secondary symptoms prior to hospitalization.
This study, along with those cited below, posit that either the use of NSAIDs masks the symptoms of necrotising fasciitis, thereby discouraging early diagnosis and treatment, and/or, NSAIDs inhibit and impair a crucial biologic response that the body would normally utilize to fight streptococcal infection. Because of this, researchers are calling into question the use of ibuprofen and/or other NSAIDS for treatment of chickenpox and/or soft tissue infections.
How can you treat it? Every parent wants to make his or her child as comfortable as possible and minimize the stay of the illness. Mothering recommends consulting your caregiver as well as referring to: Smart Medicine For A Healthier Child, A Practical A-to-Z Reference To Natural And Conventional Treatments For Infants & Children by Zand, Walton and Rountree. The recommendations for chickenpox spans three pages and include conventional, herbal and homeopathic treatments, as well as offer dietary and nutritional guidelines.
Website for Prescriber Update Article: Necrotising Fasciitis with Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs is: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUarticles/necf.htm
Zerr DM, Alexander ER, Duchin JS, Koutsky LA, Rubens CE. A case-control study of necrotising fasciitis during primary varicella. Pediatrics 1999; 103:783-90
Bernard GR, Wheeler AP, Russell JA, Schein R, et al. The effects of ibuprofen on the physiology and survival of patients and sepsis. N Engl J Med