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Definition of Antipyretic

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Antipyretic: Something that reduces fever or quells it.

There are 3 classes of antipyretic medications that are sold OTC (over-the-counter) without prescription:

  • Salicylates -- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), choline salicylate (Arthropan), magnesium salicylate (Arthriten), and sodium salicylate (Scot-Tussin Original);
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol); and
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), and ketoprofen.

From anti-, against + the Greek pyretos, fever from pyr, fire. The same root gives rise to pyrexia, a medical term for fever.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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