Paracetamol – what it is, what it is for and how to take it!

Acetaminophen and a medication are indicated for the reduction of fever and the temporary relief of mild to moderate pain such as: Pain associated with the common cold, headache, body ache, toothache, back pain, muscle aches , mild pain associated with arthritis and dysmenorrhea.

What is paracetamol?

Acetaminophen ( acetaminophen) is a pain reliever and fever reducer. The exact mechanism of action of is not known. Also, it is used to treat many conditions such as headache, muscle pain, arthritis, back pain, toothache, colds and fevers.

It relieves pain in mild arthritis but has no effect on the underlying inflammation and swelling of the joint. Therefore, it may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions before taking paracetamol:

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take acetaminophen if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • a history of alcoholism.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Before using it, tell your doctor if you are pregnant. This medicine may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this Medicine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use paracetamol?

Use acetaminophen exactly as directed on the label or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use more of this medication than recommended. An overdose can cause serious harm. The maximum amount for adults is 1 gram (1000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4000 mg) per day. Using this medication more can cause liver damage.

If you drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day, talk to your doctor before taking acetaminophen and never use more than 2 grams (2000 mg) a day. If you are treating a child, use a pediatric form. Carefully follow the dosage instructions on the medication label. Do not give the medication to a child under 2 years of age without a doctor’s advice.

Measure the liquid form with a spoon or special measuring cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose measuring device, ask your pharmacist. You may need to shake the liquid before each use. Follow the instructions on the medication label.

Acetaminophen chewable tablet must be chewed before swallowing. Make sure your hands are dry when handling the disintegrating tablet. Place the tablet on your tongue. It will start to dissolve immediately. Do not swallow the tablet whole. Let it dissolve in your mouth without chewing.

To use effervescent acetaminophen granules , dissolve one packet of granules in at least 4 ounces of water. Stir this mixture and drink it all right away. To make sure you get the full dose, add a little more water to the same glass, shake gently and drink immediately.

Do not take a paracetamol suppository by mouth. It is for use in your rectum only. Wash your hands before and after inserting the suppository. Try to empty your bowels and bladder before using the suppository. Remove the outer sleeve from the suppository before inserting it. Avoid handling the suppository for a long time or it will melt in your hands.

Stop using acetaminophen and call your doctor if:

  • you still have a fever after 3 days of use;
  • Still feel pain after 7 days of use (or 5 days if treating a child)
  • you have a rash, ongoing headache, or any redness or swelling;
  • if your symptoms get worse, or if you have new symptoms.

Urine glucose tests can produce false results while you are taking acetaminophen . Talk to your doctor if you are diabetic and notice changes in your glucose levels during treatment. Store the medicine at room temperature away from heat and moisture. Rectal suppositories can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

What happens if I miss a dose of paracetamol?

As acetaminophen is often used only when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are using the medication regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Also, if it is almost time for your next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and use the next dose as directed. Do not use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose on paracetamol?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you’ve used this medication too much. Early signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite , nausea, vomiting, stomach pain , sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms may include pain in the upper part of the stomach , dark urine, and yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes.

What should I avoid if I take paracetamol?

Do not use any other cough, cold , allergy medicine or pain relievers without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist. In addition, this drug is contained in many combination drugs. If you use certain products together, you may accidentally use too much of the medicine.

Read the label of any other medication you are using to see if it contains either acetaminophen or APAP. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication. Alcohol can increase the risk of liver damage.

Paracetamol side effects:

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to this medication: hives ; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat . Stop using this medication and call your doctor right away if you have a serious side effect, such as:

  •  low-grade fever with nausea, stomach pain, and loss of appetite;
  •  dark urine, clay-colored stools;
  •  jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

This is not a complete list of acetaminophen side effects and others that may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You can report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage of paracetamol:

Usual dosage information for adults with fever :

  • General dosing guidelines: 325 to 650 mg every 4 to 6 hours or 1000 mg every 6 to 8 hours orally or rectally.
  • Acetaminophen 500mg tablets: Two 500mg tablets orally every 4 to 6 hours
  • Usual adult dose for pain:
  • General dosing guidelines: 325 to 650 mg every 4 to 6 hours or 1000 mg every 6 to 8 hours orally or rectally.
  • Acetaminophen 500mg tablets: Two 500mg tablets orally every 4 to 6 hours

What other drugs will affect acetaminophen?

Useful links: 

There may be other drugs that can interact with acetaminophen . Also, tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins , minerals, herbal products, and medications prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other information:

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others and use this medicine only for the
  • prescribed indication.
  • Always consult your physician to ensure that the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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