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Paracetamol is one of the safest and most widely used analgesics and antipyretics. It produces analgesic action by elevation of the pain threshold and antipyresis through action on the hypothalamic heat-regulating center. Paracetamol exerts significantly milder side effects and is most unlikely to produce many of the serious side effects associated with aspirin and other NSAIDs.
Paracetamol is rapidly and completely absorbed from the GIT following oral administration and from the rectum after rectal administration. The mean half-life of absorption from the upper small intestine is only 7 minutes. The drug is extensively metabolized in the liver and has a plasma half-life of 1.5 to 3.0 hours. Paracetamol is not bound to plasma proteins to any extent.
Paracetamol is effective for the relief of persistent pain associated with osteoarthritis and muscle aches and pains such as backache. Paracetamol also provides effective, temporary relief of pain and discomfort associated with headache, tension headache, period pain, toothache, pain after dental procedures and cold & flu. It reduces fever. It is available in tablet, suspension, pediatric drops, and suppository form. Paracetamol is prescribed for the following symptoms.
Tablet for Adults:
Syrup & Suspension:
Adults: 4 – 8 teaspoonfuls > 3 to 4 times daily.
Adults and children (aged 12 years and over): Take 1 to 2 tablets every four to six hours as needed. Do not take more than 8 caplets in 24 hours.
Children (7 to 11 years): Take ½-1 Tablets every four to six hours as needed. Do not take more than 4 caplets in 24 hours. Not recommended in children under 7 years.
Paracetamol tablets are to be administered orally, with or without food. The tablets must not be crushed.
Barbiturates, tricyclic antidepressants and alcohol-taking patients may show diminished ability to metabolize large doses of Paracetamol. Alcohol can increase the hepatotoxicity of Paracetamol overdosage. Chronic ingestion of anticonvulsants or oral steroid contraceptives induces liver enzymes and may prevent attainment of therapeutic Paracetamol levels by increasing first-pass metabolism or clearance.
It is contraindicated in hypersensitivity to paracetamol, caffeine, or any of its components.
Side effects of Paracetamol are rare. Liver damage may occur following an overdose. The primary symptoms of liver damage are nausea, vomiting, and physical discomfort. Skin rashes and other allergic reactions may occur occasionally.
Paracetamol is safe in all stages of pregnancy and lactation. Pregnancy category B according to USFDA.
It should be used with caution in cases of acute liver and kidney disease. Other paracetamol-rich medicines should not be taken while taking this medicine and excessive tea or coffee should be avoided. So be sure to follow these precautions before using them.