Paracetamol also known and called as ..
- PCM – Short name of Paracetamol
- Acetaminophen – Synonym
- N-acetyl-p-amino-phenol – Mostly used by Pharmacy students
Paracetamol is a commonly used medicine that can help treat pain and reduce a high temperature which we called Fever.
It’s typically used to relieve mild or moderate pain, such as muscle ache, headache, toothache, arthritis and backache and reduce fevers caused by illnesses such as colds and flu and other occasional problems.
Paracetamol is often recommended as one of the first treatments for pain, as it’s safe for most people to take and side effects are rare.
Paracetamol commonly available as a Tablet as a Paracetamol 500 mg and Paracetamol 650 mg , while it also available as a Injection and as a syrup / Liquid for Children.
How it Works ?
Paracetamol / Acetaminophen is an analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-pyretic (fever reducer). It works by blocking the release of certain chemical messengers that cause pain and fever. Paracetamol increases the pain threshold and decreases swelling. It also brings down elevated body temperature by acting on heat regulatory centers in the brain.
Uses of Paracetamol
Why I have been prescribed Paracetamol?
- Fever : Provide temporary relief from fever without treating the underlying cause.
- Headache : Relieve acute headaches including a migraine.
- Muscle Pain : Used to relieve mild to moderate pain in the muscles.
- Menstrual Cramps : Relieve pain and cramping associated with menstrual cycles in women.
- Post Immunization Pyrexia : Used in the treatment of pain and fever that sets in after one has taken vaccinations.
- Arthritis : Relieve joint pain including mild to moderate pain in arthritis.
Side effects (Read in Depth)
What are the Major & minor side effects for Paracetamol?
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Allergic skin reaction
- Gastric / Mouth Ulcer
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
When not to use?
what are the Contraindications of Paracetamol?
- Analgesic Nephropathy (Kidney Disease)
- Severe liver impairment
Expert Advise for Paracetamol / Acetaminophen / PCM
- Good for pain relief and fever but not effective in joint pain due to poor anti-inflammatory action.
- Starts working within one hour. Wait for at least 4 hours before taking the next dose.
- Present in many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines. Avoid taking more than one paracetamol product at a time to prevent overdose. Doses >4 g/day (2 g in alcoholics) may cause liver, kidney or heart problems.
- Discontinue Paracetamol / Acetaminophen and inform your doctor immediately if rash occurs.
- For children, measure the doses of liquid Paracetamol / Acetaminophen using the measuring cup instead of a teaspoon to avoid under or over-dosage.
- Avoid excess alcohol intake (>3 glasses/day) when taking Paracetamol / Acetaminophen as it may cause liver damage.
Dosage of Paracetamol (Read in Depth)
For Adult : the recommended paracetamol dosing for adults and children 12 years and over is 500 to 1000 mg every four to six hours as necessary, with a maximum of 4000 mg in any 24 hour period.
For Children : The optimal dosing for children (1 month to 12 years) is 15 mg per kg, which can be given every four to six hours as required, with no more than four doses in 24 hours.
Interaction with alcohol : MAJOR (Read in Depth)
- Drinking alcohol with this medicine can have a severe effect on the liver.
- Consumption of alcohol is not recommended during treatment with this medicine due to the increased risk of serious side effects such as severe gastrointestinal bleeding, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, rashes, nausea, joint pain, fever, jaundice, etc.
Interaction with Medicine :
- Carbamazepine : MODERATE
- Phenytoin : MODERATE
- Sodium Nitrite : SEVERE
- Leflunomide : SEVERE
- Prilocaine : SEVERE
Interaction With food :
- Generally Safe
Disease interactions :
- Alcoholism SEVERE
- Liver Disease SEVERE
Lab Test Results interaction :
- 5-HIAA Urine Test MODERATE
Paracetamol In pregnancy? (Read in Depth)
Paracetamol has been used by pregnant women for many years without any obvious harmful effects on the developing baby. For this reason paracetamol is usually recommended as the first choice of painkiller for pregnant women though is not recommended for use in pregnant women unless necessary and the potential benefits outweigh the risks involved.
This medicine is not known to cause any harm to the fetus, but should only be used after consultation with your doctor. Oral administration of the medicine should be preferred over the intravenous route.
Other painkillers, including those sold over the counter without a prescription have not been shown to be any safer than paracetamol; some are not suitable for use during certain stages of pregnancy. Although it is not possible to say that any medicine is absolutely safe to use in pregnancy, there is currently no good evidence that paracetamol will harm your baby. It is however generally recommended that women who are pregnant use the lowest dose of paracetamol that works, only for as long as needed.
Usage while breast-feeding?
This medicine is safe to use during breastfeeding. It is advised to consult your doctor before taking this medicine. Monitor the infant for any undesired side effects and report any incidence of rashes on skin or diarrhea in the infant to the doctor immediately.
Overdose – This medicine is available in the market in various dosage forms. Read the label carefully before consuming this medicine to avoid overdosage. Overdose may result in liver damage. Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose of this medicine is suspected.
Liver Disease – This medicine should be used with extreme caution in patients suffering from liver function impairment or active liver diseases due to the increased risk of severe adverse effects. Close monitoring of liver function is necessary while receiving this medicine. Appropriate dose adjustments or replacement with a suitable alternative may be required in some cases based on the clinical condition.
Chronic Malnutrition – This medicine should be used with extreme caution in patients suffering from malnourishment due to the increased risk of severe adverse effects. Appropriate dose adjustments or replacement with a suitable alternative may be required in some cases based on the clinical condition.
Onset of action : The effect of this medicine can be observed within 1 hour of oral administration. When given in the form of an intravenous injection, the pain-relieving action starts in 5-10 minutes. For fever reduction, the time taken is about 30 minutes.
Duration of effect : The effect of this medicine lasts for an average duration of 4-6 hours.
- Can be taken with or without food, as advised by your doctor
- To be taken as instructed by doctor
- Does not cause sleepiness
Legal Status : Approved