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What Is Phenazone?

Phenazone, also known as antipyrine, is a pain-relieving and fever-reducing compound, once widely used in medications. Its effectiveness in easing discomfort has been recognized for over a century. Accompanied by images, we'll examine its uses, benefits, and how it compares to modern treatments. Intrigued by its place in medical history? Join us as we uncover the story of Phenazone.
S. Berger
S. Berger

Phenazone, also called phenazon, is an analgesic, a type of medication used to relieve pain. It also functions as an anti-inflammatory medication and an antipyretic, meaning that it can alleviate fevers. This medication is part of a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which include more well-known compounds like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Often available as a tablet for oral consumption in many countries, it is also found in Europe in the form of ear drops, usually combined with a local anesthetic like lidocaine to treat earaches.

Many NSAIDs have relatively short half-lives, a term describing the length of time taken to clear half of an ingested drug from the body. Usually, the half-life of an NSAID ranges from six to eight hours. Phenazone has a longer half-life of up to 12 hours, making it a potentially favorable treatment option for persistent, moderate pain.

The dosage may need to be altered when phenazone occurs in preperations with other medications.
The dosage may need to be altered when phenazone occurs in preperations with other medications.

Pain from migraines in particular is well-suited for treatment with phenazone. A study on patients with recurring migraines found that about half of these individuals had their pain significantly reduced two hours after taking 1000 milligrams (mg) of this medication. About one-quarter of the patients had their pain disappear entirely after using it. Migraines cannot always be treated easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, making this particular drug an effective treatment option.

Approximately one-quarter of migraine sufferers who take phenazone experience complete pain relief.
Approximately one-quarter of migraine sufferers who take phenazone experience complete pain relief.

The risks of phenazone are similar to the risks carried by other NSAIDs, and they can include stomachaches, nausea, and allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to this medication generally occur as a result of a more general allergy to a class of chemicals called pyrazolones that phenazone belongs to. Like some other NSAIDs, this drug can also cause damage to the liver. When taken in normal therapeutic doses, liver toxicity isn't usually a problem, but it becomes a risk if taken in high doses, over long periods of time, or when consuming alcohol frequently.

Seniors have an increased risk of interactions when phenazone is combined with other drugs.
Seniors have an increased risk of interactions when phenazone is combined with other drugs.

Phenazone may sometimes occur in preparations with other medications, such as theophylline. In elderly patients, there may be an interaction with these two medications, however, which can change the dosages needed. A study found that administering theophylline sped up the rate that some patients metabolized phenazone, making the pain reliever less effective and shorter-acting. Patients that were less healthy were more prone to this effect occurring. The increased metabolism of this medication seemed to be due to a drug interaction occurring in the liver, which could potentially occur with similar medications such as caffeine, as well.

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Discussion Comments

anon953266

If someone accidentally put Phenazone ear drops into eyes what will be happen to the eyes?

ysmina

I've used phenazone for migraines in the past. It certainly helped but when I took it on a regular basis, I would experience nausea and upset stomach. I know that stomach issues like ulcers are a risk with all NSAIDs. So I eventually switched to another migraine medication that was easier on my stomach because I have chronic migraines and need medication often.

But I have a friend who uses phenazone for migraines and doesn't experience upset stomach. So I think people with migraines should give this medication a try. Not everyone has a sensitive stomach like I do.

SteamLouis

@donasmrs-- As far as I know, propyphenazone is derived from phenazone. So they're both analgesics that work similarly. But propyphenazone has more negative side effect than phenazone. It's actually banned in some countries for this reason. It's not banned in the US, but it does require a prescription.

If I had to choose one, I would choose phenazone.

donasmrs

What is the difference between phenazone and propyphenazone?

I was getting a prescription filled for phenazone and the pharmacist wanted me to clarify if I wanted phenazone or propyphenazone.

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    • The dosage may need to be altered when phenazone occurs in preperations with other medications.
      By: emiliau
      The dosage may need to be altered when phenazone occurs in preperations with other medications.
    • Approximately one-quarter of migraine sufferers who take phenazone experience complete pain relief.
      By: MediablitzImages
      Approximately one-quarter of migraine sufferers who take phenazone experience complete pain relief.
    • Seniors have an increased risk of interactions when phenazone is combined with other drugs.
      By: krutoeva
      Seniors have an increased risk of interactions when phenazone is combined with other drugs.
    • Taking phenazone on an empty stomach may cause nausea and vomiting.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Taking phenazone on an empty stomach may cause nausea and vomiting.
    • Light sensitivity and other vision problems can be cause by migraines, which is sometimes treated with phenazone.
      By: djtaylor
      Light sensitivity and other vision problems can be cause by migraines, which is sometimes treated with phenazone.
    • High doses of phenazone may result in liver toxicity.
      By: decade3d
      High doses of phenazone may result in liver toxicity.
    • Phenazone may help reduce fevers.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Phenazone may help reduce fevers.
    • In some countries, phenazone can be found in the form of ear drops.
      By: JackF
      In some countries, phenazone can be found in the form of ear drops.