National Reyes Syndrome Foundation UK

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Information for Health Professionals


  • Reye's syndrome can appear soon after a viral infection, especially a flu-like illness or chickenpox.
  • Early signs of Reye's syndrome are continuous vomiting, listlessness, drowsiness, irritability, confusion, irrational behaviour, a convulsion or coma.
  • In patients with the signs and symptoms described above, abnormal liver tests, including raised blood ammonia, strongly suggest a diagnosis of Reye's syndrome or a "Reye-like" inherited metabolic disorder.
  • Inherited metabolic disorders can present as a "Reye-like" disorder especially in children under 4 years. It is essential to diagnose them because of implications for genetic counselling, specific treatment and investigation of other children in the family.
  • Medicines can mask symptoms. Therefore a patient developing any of the symptoms of Reye's syndrome, should not be given anti-nausea or fever reducing medicine.
  • Children and young persons under 16 should not take or be given aspirin unless clinically indicated, for example as specific anti-inflammatory or anti-platelet therapy or the treatment of Kawasaki disease.
  • Reye's syndrome has been reported in teenagers, and albeit rarely, in older adults.


Next review: December 2019