General Warnings

List of Drugs That Can Cause Fever

What is drug-induced fever?

Drug-induced fever is defined as an elevation or rise in body temperature days or weeks after using a new drug or medication. Many common drugs can trigger fever in humans. Drug-induced fever manifests with a hectic fever pattern. Elevated temperatures of 102–104°F (39-40°C) are most common, but can range from 99°F to 109°F (38-43°C). Patients with drug fever will usually appear “inappropriately well” for the degree of fever that they have.

How does a drug or medication trigger fever?

The drugs induce fever by interfering with heat dissipation of the body peripherally. They can also increase the rate of metabolism, evoke a cellular or humoral immune response, mimic endogenous pyrogen, or damage tissues resulting in temperature rise.

Drugs can also cause fever by their pharmacological action or some other unrelated effect. Drug-induced fever is most commonly the result of a hypersensitivity reaction and its characteristics resemble those of an allergic reaction.

How long does drug-induced fever last?

Drug-induced fever most commonly occurs after 7 to 10 days of drug administration, persists as long as the drug is continued, disappears soon after stopping the drug, and will rapidly reappear if the drug is restarted.

Drug-induced fever examples

Examples of common drugs that induce fever, by mechanism:


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Penicillin
  • Minocycline
  • Sulfonamide
  • Allopurinol

Altered thermoregulatory mechanisms

Directly related to administration

  • Paraldehyde
  • Pentazocine
  • Amphotericin B
  • Bleomycin

Direct extension of pharmacologic action


  • Succinylcholine
  • Haloperidol
  • Serotonergic

Example of common drugs that induce fever, by drug class:

Antimicrobial medications that cause fever       

  • Amphotericin
  • Carbapenems
  • Cephalosporins (common)
  • Erythromycin
  • Isoniazid
  • Minocycline
  • Penicillins (common)
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Rifampin
  • Sulfonamides
  • Vancomycin

Cardiovascular medications that cause fever    

  • Atropine
  • Captopril
  • Clofibrate
  • Hydralazine
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Methyldopa
  • Nifedipine
  • Procainamide (common)
  • Quinidine (common)
  • Streptokinase

Anticonvulsant medications that cause fever          

  • Barbiturates
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Phenytoin or Dilantin (common)

Gastrointestinal medications that cause fever

  • Cimetidine (Tagemet)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Phenothiazines

Analgesic medications that cause fever

Miscellaneous medications that cause fever

  • Allopurinol
  • Heparin

Can recreational drugs cause fever?

Yes, several recreational drugs can cause fever they include:

Studies have shown most people with fever after a time at nightclubs/saunas/bars are often linked to recreational drug use.

How is a drug-induced fever treated?

Drug-induced fever begins to subside immediately after the implicated drug is stopped. However, the fever often reappears rapidly when the drug is restarted. Call your doctor immediately if you notice a drug is giving fever or your body temperature rises above normal after taking a medication or recreational drug.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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