Antipyretics are drugs that reduce body temperature in situations such as fever. [cite web |url= |title=Definition of antipyretic|accessdate=2007-12-19 |format= |work=Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary] However, they will not affect the normal body temperature if one does not have fever.

Antipyretics cause the hypothalamus to override an interleukin-induced increase in temperature. The body will then work to lower the temperature and the result is a reduction in fever.

Most are also used for other purposes. For example, the most common antipyretics in the United States are aspirin and paracetamol (acetaminophen), which are used primarily as pain relievers. NSAIDs are antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and pain relievers. There is some debate over the appropriate use of such medications: fever is part of the body's immune response to infection.

Herbal remedies with a fever-reducing effect are called febrifuges, and include catnip, chamomile, sage, wormwood and yarrow. However, the term "febrifuge" can also refer to a refrigerant, such as topical alcohol, which cools the body by physically removing heat rather than modifying the body's responses. This is not recommended currently, because alcohol can be transferred through the skin and affect the liver. In addition, alcohol slightly raises the body temperature before it brings it down, which, if the fever is already very high could cause permanent damage.Fact|date=April 2007.


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  • Antipyretic — An ti*py*ret ic, a. (Med.) Efficacious in preventing or allaying fever. n. A febrifuge. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • antipyretic — reducing fever; that which reduces fever, 1680s, from ANTI (Cf. anti ) + Gk. pyretos fever, burning heat, related to pyr fire (see FIRE (Cf. fire) (n.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • antipyretic — [an΄tīpī ret′ik, an΄tēpī ret′ik, an΄tipī ret′ik] adj. reducing fever n. anything that reduces fever …   English World dictionary

  • 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… …   Medical dictionary

  • antipyretic — noun Date: circa 1681 an agent that reduces fever • antipyretic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • antipyretic — antipyresis /an tee puy ree sis, an tuy /, n. /an tee puy ret ik, an tuy /, Med., Pharm. adj. 1. checking or preventing fever. n. 2. an antipyretic agent. [1675 85; ANTI + PYRETIC] * * * …   Universalium

  • antipyretic — 1. adjective That reduces fever; fever reducing. The antipyretic action of AVP is limited mainly to its action in a precise location in the ventral septum, though there is some evidence for a similar action in the medial amygdala. 2. noun A… …   Wiktionary

  • antipyretic — adjective used to prevent or reduce fever. noun an antipyretic drug …   English new terms dictionary

  • antipyretic — n. a drug that reduces fever by lowering the body temperature. Several analgesic drugs have antipyretic activity, including aspirin and paracetamol …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • antipyretic — an•ti•py•ret•ic [[t]ˌæn ti paɪˈrɛt ɪk, ˌæn taɪ [/t]] adj. 1) med pha preventing fever 2) med pha an antipyretic agent • Etymology: 1675–85 an ti•py•re′sis ˈri sɪs n …   From formal English to slang

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