4.26.2009

Motrin Side Effects Scare


My pediatrician wasn't the first person to recommend I might try giving my daughter Motrin for teething pain, instead of Tylenol. Lots of moms use Motrin (Ibuprofen) to help their babies feel a little better and sleep a little easier. For me and my daughter it was the opposite. She felt worse, far worse and forget about sleep she was in too much pain.


Before I tell you what happened to my daughter, I should point out my pediatrician said her reaction to the medication was extremely rare. So much so that he's only seen about 3 in 3,000 patients with a reaction like hers.

Here's what happened...as I blogged about in a previous post, my daughter seemed to be having non stop...I'll just call them... "issues." Ear infections, runny nose, congestion, teething pain... After my third trip to the doctor in three weeks I asked if I could give my 8 month old a dose of Motrin instead of Tylenol. He said "sure" and suggested I might switch back and forth between Motrin and Tylenol. On the way home from the doctor I picked up the Motrin. I fed her dinner around 5:30pm Wednesday, and gave her the first dose at 6, knowing it would probably make her a little drowsy. Like I do every night, I took her up for bed around 7pm. Everything seemed fine. I nursed her and put her in her crib. Like normal, she was awake when I left her. But unlike normal, she didn't fall right asleep. She screamed straight until 11! She was arching her back in pain, like her stomach was killing her. At one point I thought she might have appendicitis. Nothing would comfort her, not even me rocking her to sleep. I thought it must be a bad gas pain or a poop she just couldn't work out. She was clearly tired, she'd close her eyes for a few seconds, only to jolt awake from what was obviously severe pain. Finally, she fell asleep and stayed asleep until around 3 am. She woke up again with similar symptoms and was awake for about an hour.

The next morning I put her on the changing table to change her and when I did she did a little spit up, which dribbled down the roll in her neck. That wasn't abnormal, although I hadn't nursed her yet. When I wiped up the spit up, I noticed a small rash behind her left ear. It looked like red bumps that were slightly raised. I figured she had spit up during the night, too, and the rash was a result of the spit up sitting in the crease of her neck all night. Still a little cranky, I gave her another dose of the Motrin.

By the middle of the afternoon the rash was across the back of her neck and spreading across her forehead. She didn't seem bothered by it, but I was getting concerned. I looked in What to Expect The First Year and concluded it sounded like Roseola. My husband called his mom, a RN, and without prompting her, she suggested the same thing. We told her about the two doses of Motrin, but she said she doubted that was the cause since it's extremely rare to be allergic to Motrin or Ibuprofen. I called the doctor's office, next. I told him about he nightmare night we had the night before and the rash. Since my daughter had a cold and had just broken a fever, he threw out "Rubella." Since my daughter is only 8 months old she hasn't had the MMR vaccine yet (it's normally given between 12 and 18 months of age.) He told me to keep an eye on it, and if she had another episode like the previous night, or if the rash worsened, to bring her in the next day. In the meantime, he said no more Motrin, although he agreed it likely wasn't that since, again, it's rare to have an allergy to ibuprofen.

The next morning (Friday) my daughter's rash didn't seem better, but it didn't seem any worse. We went about our day until around 4:30 when I lifted her onesie all the way off to change her diaper. The rash was now all over her abdomen and her back. The only places not covered in red bumps were her arms and legs. I called the doctor in a panic, but looking at the clock on a Friday, I knew it was going to be nearly impossible to see him. Let me just say, I love this man, I talked to him directly, without even being put on hold and he told me to bring her right over! My mom, who was visiting at the time, helped me get to the doctor's office less than 20 minutes later! The doctor was shocked when we walked in that quickly! He took one look at my daughter and got, what I swear, was a concerned look on his face. My mom didn't see it. Anyway, he did an instant throat culture thinking that since my daughter's throat had been red two days earlier, when he saw her, maybe it had developed into Strep and the rash was Scarlet Fever. The culture came back negative. Given the circumstances - the rash that appeared hours after I gave my daughter Motrin (a rash is listed as Motrin side effect) and extreme stomach pain (another common Motrin side effect) he concluded she was having an allergic reaction to Motrin - which he admitted was extremely rare. The rash is, thankfully, now all but gone. However, he did warn me that it could come back on an off for a few weeks. (Seems weird to me!)

If you're like me when your baby has something wrong you Google it. I did and it scared the crap out of me. Motrin and a dozen or so other drugs, have been blamed for several much more serious conditions. I won't share them here since there's litigation in a few of the cases, and it's a controversial subject. But I will say, that it's something you should watch out for - not just with Motrin or Ibuprofen but with anything. Be careful how you introduce new foods and medications to your baby. Only introduce one thing at a time and look for adverse side effects. Call your doctor if you're concerned and TRUST YOUR MOTHERLY INSTINCTS! I really didn't want to be that mother who was at the pediatrician's office three times in two weeks - but I KNEW something was wrong..and boy, am I glad I listened to my heart

8 comments:

Pamela said...

I wanted to thank you for your post! You will never know how much relief it gave me and my husband! Our 6 yr old son has been under the weather for almost a week now. He was having burning lips, eyes, and burning sensations under his skin. Very sensitive to the sun and a rash as well as a swollen face from time to time. We gave him Motrin all week because we were out of Tylenol. Motrin had been recommended on several occasions by our Pedi for other things. We thought maybe a bug bite was the cause but did not know or see anything so we took him in. The doc said looked like strep. They did the test in office and even sent it out and it was negative. They said he was just working thru a virus even though he never had a fever and kept his normal self from eating, sleeping, playing and well the other stuff. He would have to stop from time to time because his back and legs would burn. Well I noticed a blister on his leg friday and not able to get an appointment with the doc I took him into the ER they said viral as well or allergic reaction though not sure what. Said to KEEP him on Motrin as well as Benydril and put him on Prednizone. Sat he was sooo bad all he did was lay around because his hands and feet would burn if he stood up. We ran out of Motrin and purchased some more and for some reason my eyes drifted to the warning on it. That was our kid minus the vomiting and fever. SO I googled it and your post came up! It made us feel so much better thinking that we may have actually found the cause of his mystery illness. We were able to get in on a Sunday to see our normal doc who we had not been able to see all last week and she said yes it seemed that he probably was allergic to the Motrin though it is extremely rare. He had had Tylenol once this past week as well the chewables and so she said to just stop all meds except the prednizone and every now and then Benydril if need be. He will have some basic blood work done on Wed. Sadly enough he could get recurence of this for many months. DId your child??
Anyways, thanx again for your post! We had been researching every possible cause to no avail. So sorry your daughter had to go thru this as well!!

Pamela said...

I wanted to thank you for your post! You will never know how much relief it gave me and my husband! Our 6 yr old son has been under the weather for almost a week now. He was having burning lips, eyes, and burning sensations under his skin. Very sensitive to the sun and a rash as well as a swollen face from time to time. We gave him Motrin all week because we were out of Tylenol. Motrin had been recommended on several occasions by our Pedi for other things. We thought maybe a bug bite was the cause but did not know or see anything so we took him in. The doc said looked like strep. They did the test in office and even sent it out and it was negative. They said he was just working thru a virus even though he never had a fever and kept his normal self from eating, sleeping, playing and well the other stuff. He would have to stop from time to time because his back and legs would burn. Well I noticed a blister on his leg friday and not able to get an appointment with the doc I took him into the ER they said viral as well or allergic reaction though not sure what. Said to KEEP him on Motrin as well as Benydril and put him on Prednizone. Sat he was sooo bad all he did was lay around because his hands and feet would burn if he stood up. We ran out of Motrin and purchased some more and for some reason my eyes drifted to the warning on it. That was our kid minus the vomiting and fever. SO I googled it and your post came up! It made us feel so much better thinking that we may have actually found the cause of his mystery illness. We were able to get in on a Sunday to see our normal doc who we had not been able to see all last week and she said yes it seemed that he probably was allergic to the Motrin though it is extremely rare. He had had Tylenol once this past week as well the chewables and so she said to just stop all meds except the prednizone and every now and then Benydril if need be. He will have some basic blood work done on Wed. Sadly enough he could get recurence of this for many months. DId your child??
Anyways, thanx again for your post! We had been researching every possible cause to no avail. So sorry your daughter had to go thru this as well!!

Pamela said...

After a LONG week of not know what could be wrong with our son and then me suddenly reading the warning label on a new bottle of Motrin and googling your post came up. To make a long story short our 6 yr old son is most likely suffering from an allergic reaction to Motrin. Sadly enough he could get recurence of this for many months. DId your child??
Anyways, thanx again for your post! We had been researching every possible cause to no avail. So sorry your daughter had to go thru this as well!!

Melissa & Bob said...

Hi Pamela,
I'm sorry to hear this happened to your son. It has been about 15 months since my daughter's incident and she has had no further problems. That being said she's gotten tubes which have cleared up the ear infection so she gets a lot fewer colds and fevers that would require a pain reliever/fever reducer. I hope you get some more answers from you doctor very soon.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has the same problem she can't take Tylenol because she gets hives and now she can't take ibuprofen because she just got a rash all over her chest,back and feet...I don't know what to give her for fever next time. this is so rare the allergist didn't know what to do, so i took her to an inmunologyst and he said there is nothing we can do, i asked can we do an allergy test to check which ingredient she is allergic to he said there is no such thing and he wouldn't know what to do with that information anyways...just to hope that if next time she has high fever to give her medication and treat the hives/rash with benadryl, because a high fever is more dangerous than a rash or hives. i just worry a lot and hope that she never gets a more dangerous reaction.

Anonymous said...

Try FeverAll suppositories!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous:
My Grandma had the same problem not being able to take any pain relievers and even in the hospital they would tape two caplets of catnip to her belly button and it would diminish the fever, not as fast as meds.. but that with a luke warm to cool bath usually did the trick.

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for posting, I just came back with my daughter from the hospital. I've been in and out since Friday, today they did all blood tests, xray, urine test and did not know whats going on. she had a fever Thursday night and our family Dr. said to give her Motrin, and since I gave it to her, her fever was higher, her face and eyelid swelling and she has joint pain. I came two hours ago from the hospital and I am so worried, all tests were negative and totally fine and Drs did not know whats wrong, after I read your posts and the side effect of Motrin now I am better because all the symptoms my daughter is having from Motrin side effects. Thanks and I hope she feels better soon. Thanks alot

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