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NSAIDS have antipyretic activity and can be used to treat fever.   Fever is caused by elevated levels of prostaglandin E2 , which alters the firing rate of neurons within the hypothalamus that control thermoregulation.   Antipyretics work by inhibiting the enzyme COX, which causes the general inhibition of prostanoid biosynthesis ( PGE2 ) within the hypothalamus .   PGE2 signals to the hypothalamus to increase the body's thermal set point.   Ibuprofen has been shown more effective as an antipyretic than paracetamol (acetaminophen).   Arachidonic acid is the precursor substrate for cyclooxygenase leading to the production of prostaglandins F, D & E.
SOURCES: Byron Cryer, MD, spokesman, American Gastroenterological Association; associate professor of medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Nieca Goldberg, MD, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association; chief of women's cardiac care, Lennox Hill Hospital, New York; author, Women Are Not Small Men: Lifesaving Strategies For Preventing And Healing Heart Disease In Women . John Klippel, MD, president and CEO, Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta. Scott Zashin, clinical assistant professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; author of Arthritis Without Pain . American College of Rheumatology web site. Arthritis Foundation web site. American Heart Association web site. American College of Gastroenterology web site. American Gastroenterological Association web site. American Academy of Family Physicians web site. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology web site.