INTRODUCTION: Fever is an integral part of the inflammatory response and has therefore likely a physiological role in fighting infections. Nevertheless, whether fever in itself is beneficial or harmful in adults is unknown. This protocol for a systematic review aims at identifying the beneficial and harmful effects of fever control interventions in adults.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This protocol for a systematic review was conducted following the recommendations of Cochrane, GRADE and the eight-step assessment suggested by Jakobsen and colleagues for better validation of meta-analytical results in systematic reviews. We plan to include all relevant randomised clinical trials comparing any fever control intervention with placebo, sham or no intervention in adults. We plan to search CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, LILACS, BIOSIS, CINAHL, Scopus and Web of Science Core Collection to identify relevant trials. Any eligible trial will be assessed and classified as either at high risk of bias or low risk of bias, and our primary conclusions will be based on trials at low risk of bias. We will perform our meta-analyses of the extracted data using Review Manager 5.3 and Trial Sequential Analysis. For all our outcomes, we will create a 'Summary of Findings' table based on GRADE assessments of the certainty of the evidence.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: No formal approval or review of ethics is required for this systematic review as individual patient data will not be included. This systematic review has the potential to highlight (1) whether one should believe fever to be beneficial, harmful or neither in adults; (2) the existing knowledge gaps on this topic; and (3) whether the recommendations from guidelines and daily clinical practice are correct. These results will be disseminated through publication in a leading peer-reviewed journal.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019134006.