The Question: Do infants given acetaminophen before and after an immunization sleep better than those who don’t receive the medicine?

The Study: The sleep patterns of 70 infants receiving their first immunizations (at age two months) were monitored 24 hours before the shot and then for the 24 hours afterwards. The monitoring was done with an ankle actigraph-a device that records movement. Half the children received a standard does of acetaminophen 30 minutes before the immunization and then every four hours thereafter for a total of five doses.

The Results: There was no significant difference between the sleep patterns of the infants in the two groups. Interestingly, the researchers did find that infants who received their immunization after 1:30 PM had better sleep patterns in the following 24 hours than the babies who received their immunization in the morning.

Comment: This is a serendipitous finding: looking for one thing and finding another. Further studies are needed to confirm this finding and determine why it happens. In the meantime, since it’s hard to imagine any harmful effect of afternoon immunizations, you may want to schedule your child’s regular doctor visits in the afternoon.

Read More: Pediatrics, 12/11

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From issue: 28/03-04