Information on Paracetamol: Uses and Benefits of Paracetamol 

Dr Priya Sharma

Dr Priya Sharma

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 6 years of experience

March 16, 2022 Lifestyle Diseases 477 Views

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What is Paracetamol?

Paracetamol is a commonly used painkiller for the treatment of aches and pain. It also helps in reducing fever. Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever-reducing) drug. Paracetamol works by blocking the production of some chemical messengers which lead to pain and fever.

There are certain chemicals in the body known as prostaglandins. These chemicals are produced in response to pain or some illness. Paracetamol blocks the production of these prostaglandins, thus reducing fever and pain. Paracetamol also acts on that area of ​​the brain which is responsible for controlling the temperature and hence helps in regulating body heat.

In this article, we will be discussing in detail paracetamol.

  • What are the different types of Paracetamol?
  • When is Paracetamol given?
  • When should Paracetamol not be given?
  • What is the dosage of Paracetamol and how to take it?
  • What is the onset of action and how long does the Paracetamol effect last?
  • What are the precautions one needs to take if taking Paracetamol?
  • What are the side effects of Paracetamol?
  • What happens in the case of a Paracetamol overdose?
  • What happens if I miss a dose of Paracetamol?
  • How does Paracetamol interact with other medications?
  • How does Paracetamol interact with food and alcohol?

What are the different types of Paracetamol?

Paracetamol is available in the following forms:

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Liquid (normally given to children)
  • Soluble tablets (tablets are dissolved in water and consumed as a drink)
  • Suppositories (capsules that are inserted into the back passage)
  • Intravenously (injection given into a vein)

( Know more about- What are Vaginal Suppositories? )

When is Paracetamol given?

Paracetamol can be given in the following cases:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Menstrual period pain
  • Toothache
  • Lower back pain

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  • Aches due to cold or flu
  • Osteoarthritis (a joint disorder that occurs due to aging, and wears and tear on a joint)

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  • Migraine
  • Common cold
  • Postoperative pain (pain following a surgery or operation)
  • Post-vaccination fever

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When should Paracetamol not be given?

Paracetamol should not be given in the following cases:

  • Allergy to paracetamol
  • Kidney disorders
  • Severe liver diseases
  • Addiction to alcohol
  • Low blood platelet count
  • Leukopenia (low white blood cell count)
  • Malnourishment

( Know more about- What is Acute Liver Failure? )

In case of Liver failure, the patient is advised to get liver transplant surgery done. There are many renowned hospitals and doctors in India where liver transplant surgery is done with great expertise.

( Know more about- What is Liver Transplant Surgery ? )

What is the dosage of Paracetamol and how to take it?

  • The recommended dosage for adults is normally one or two tablets (500 mg) every four to six hours, but not more than 4 grams (eight tablets of 500 mg each) in 24 hours.
  • Children less than 16 years of age need a lower dosage of paracetamol, depending on the age and weight of the child. For very young children, paracetamol liquid is given using an oral syringe or spoon.
  • It is advisable to take the paracetamol tablet as per the doctor’s recommendation. The tablet needs to be taken at once without crushing or chewing it.

( Know more about- What is Acute Kidney Failure? )

What is the onset of action and how long does the Paracetamol effect last?

  • The onset of action for paracetamol given in the oral form (capsules or tablets) is 30 to 60 minutes after consumption.
  • The injectable form of paracetamol usually starts acting in 15 to 30 minutes.
  • The effect of paracetamol may last for approximately 4 to 6 hours.

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What are the precautions one needs to take if taking Paracetamol?

  • Paracetamol is usually a safe form of treatment in pregnancy to reduce fever or pain. It normally causes no harm to the fetus. However, it is best to consult your doctor before taking this medicine.
  • Paracetamol usually appears in breast milk in very small amounts and is usually not harmful to a breastfeeding baby. It is however best to consult the doctor if you are a breastfeeding mother.
  • Avoid the consumption of any antacid-like (used for treating acidity) medication within 2 hours of taking paracetamol.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol while taking paracetamol as it may increase the risk of liver damage and stomach problems.
  • In case of a long-term treatment using paracetamol, it is important to get your liver function, kidney function, and levels of blood components monitored by the doctor regularly.

( Know more about- What is Antacid? )

What are the side effects of Paracetamol?

The following are the possible side effects of paracetamol:

  • Allergic reaction, which may cause swelling and a rash
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Flushing
  • Blood disorders, like leukopenia (a low number of white blood cells) and thrombocytopenia (a low number of blood platelets)
  • Liver damage 
  • Kidney damage
  • Overdose can be fatal (in severe cases)

( Know more about- What is Heart Attack? )

What happens in the case of a Paracetamol overdose?

The symptoms of paracetamol overdose may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes

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Visit your doctor immediately if you have taken an overdose of paracetamol, and notice any of the above symptoms.

What happens if I miss a dose of Paracetamol?

  • If paracetamol is being taken on a regular schedule and you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
  • If it is nearly the time for your next dose, skip the dose that you have missed. Take the next dose at your regular time and do not take double the dose to catch up on the missed dose.

How does Paracetamol interact with other medications?

  • Paracetamol tends to react unpredictably with some other medicines. 
  • These interactions may affect how well either of the medications works and may increase the risk of developing side effects.
  • It is advisable to check the leaflet that comes with your medication to check if it can be consumed with paracetamol. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.
  • It is generally not safe to take paracetamol at the same time as the following:
  • Other products that contain paracetamol
  • Carbamazepine, which is used for the treatment of epilepsy (a disorder affecting the nerve cell activity in the brain and leading to seizures) and certain types of pain
  • Imatinib and busulfan, which is used for the treatment of certain types of cancer
  • Cholestyramine, which is used to reduce the itchiness that is caused by primary biliary cirrhosis (a kind of liver disease)
  • Ketoconazole, which is an antifungal medication
  • Lixisenatide, which is used for the treatment of diabetes
  • Metoclopramide, which is used for relieving nausea and vomiting
  • Primidone, phenytoin, phenobarbital, which is used to control seizures
  • Warfarin, which is used to prevent the formation of blood clots (mass of blood)

( Know more about- What are Anti-hypertensive Drugs? )

How does Paracetamol interact with food and alcohol?

  • It is usually safe to take paracetamol with food.
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol while taking paracetamol, as it may increase your risk of liver damage and stomach problems.

( Know more about- Home remedies for stomach ulcers)

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding paracetamol through this article.

If you have any questions or problems related to paracetamol, you should contact a General physician.

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medicine or treatment to anyone. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

Disclaimer: The information produced here is the best of our knowledge and experience and we have done our best to make it as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we would like to request that it should not be considered as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

Logintohealth is a means of providing general information about medicines to our audience and does not guarantee its accuracy or exhaustion. Even if the warning for a drug or combination is not mentioned, it does not mean that we are claiming that the drug or combination is safe for consumption without proper consultation with a specialist. 

Logintohealth does not take responsibility for any aspect of medicines or treatments. If you have any doubts about your medication, we recommend seeing a doctor immediately.

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