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Why it's used

Paracetamol is used to relieve mild to moderate pain (from a headache, toothache, cold, flu, joint pain, and menstrual cramps). This medication works by reducing the activity of certain enzymes in the body to provide pain relieving effects. Paracetamol is also used to reduce fever. This medication reduces fever by stimulating heat loss and normalizing the body temperature.
Paracetamol may also be taken in combination with other medicines to treat certain conditions. Paracetamol is used together with Caffeine and Aspirin to relieve the pain associated with a migraine headache. The effect of Paracetamol gets increased when used together with caffeine and aspirin.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Paracetamol belongs to a class of medicines called Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs. A class of medicines is often used to treat similar conditions and medications from the same class work in a similar way. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help reduce fever, decrease pain, prevent clotting of blood, and reduce inflammation (when used in higher doses).

How to use

Read the directions on the product label, patient information leaflet, or medication guide provided by the manufacturer/pharmacist before starting to use Paracetamol. If you have any questions related to this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Use this medicine as per the prescription.
Paracetamol is used with or without food. This medication should be taken with water. Do not crush, chew or dissolve the medicine. The typical dosage of Paracetamol is 1000 mg every 4-6 hours while symptoms last (not more than 4000 mg in one day).
The maximum adult dosage of Paracetamol is 4000 mg in a day. This medicine is typically used for a period of 3 days for fever, and 10 days for pain. It takes 30 minutes after use for this medicine to start to work. This medicine is not known to be habit-forming.
If you are giving Paracetamol to a child, be sure to use a product that is meant for children. Before giving this medicine to a child, use the child's weight or age to find the right dosage from the product package. If the product package does not provide specific information as to how the medication can be given to children, consult with your doctor and follow their recommendation.
Pain medications work best if they are used as soon as you feel any signs of pain. Paracetamol may not work well if you delay using it until the symptoms have worsened.
Talk to your doctor if your condition does not improve. Tell your doctor if pain or fever persists or gets worse, and your headache worsens more frequently or a headache re-develops after every 2 days.
The dosage of Paracetamol depends on the patient's age, patient's weight, medical condition(s), the health of the patient's liver, the state of kidneys, prescription medicines in use, non-prescription or OTC medicines in use, herbal supplements consumed, and response to treatment. If you have any kidney disease, a smaller dose may be prescribed to decrease the risk of kidney problems. If you have issues with your liver function, a lower dose may be prescribed to lower the risk of liver problems. This medicine should be used on an as-needed basis.
To decrease the possibility of side-effects, you might be recommended to use the extended-release form of this medicine. The extended-release medication help in maintaining a steady level of the dose in your body for a longer period of time. Do not crush or chew the medication, unless indicated on the package.
When using the chewable tablet form of this medicine, make sure your chew the medicine before you swallow it.
When using the orally-disintegrating form of this medicine, make sure you do not consume any food or fluid 5 minutes before or after taking this medicine. Before taking the medicine out of the package, wash your hands thoroughly. Place the medication on the tongue. Make sure you do not chew or swallow the medicine. You do not need to drink water after consuming the medicine. In certain cases, the medicine can taste slightly bitter. Also, ensure that you do not break or split the medicine.
When using the rapidly-dissolving tablet form of this medicine, chew this medicine or allow the medicine to dissolve on the tongue. Next, swallow the medicine with or without water.
Paracetamol injection is given intravenously every 4 to 6 hours. Carefully examine the vial contents for any discoloration or particulate matter. To prevent the blockage of blood supply caused by air bubbles, the end of the infusion should be monitored properly. Use the injection within 6 hours after opening the vial. Do not refrigerate or freeze the vial.
When using the liquid form of this medicine, measure the dose using the provided measuring cup, spoon, or dropper. Before pouring the medicine into the measuring device, you should check the measurement markings carefully. Then, pour the prescribed dosage amount into the device. Using a tablespoon as a measuring device can result in incorrect dosage. After use, clean and store the measuring device in a safe place for your next use. If indicated on the product package, shake the medicine before use.
Avoid the consumption of alcohol with Paracetamol.
You should store Paracetamol at 20-25°C (68-77°F), away from heat, away from moisture, and away from light.
Medicines may be prescribed for uses other than those listed in a medication guide. Do not use Paracetamol for conditions for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Paracetamol to other people who might have the same conditions or symptoms that you have. Self-medication may harm them.

How to take Paracetamol

The dosage and frequency of using Paracetamol will depend on the following factors:
  • age of the patient
  • the weight of the patient
  • patient's medical condition
  • the health of the patient's liver
  • the state of kidneys
  • prescription medicines being used
  • non-prescription or OTC medicines being used
  • herbal supplements being used
  • response to the medicine

Paracetamol Dosage

Dosage for mild to moderate pain (from a headache, menstrual period, toothache, or a backache)

Adult
  • Recommended: 500-1000 mg per 4-6 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 4000 mg/day
Pediatric (2-3 years of age, 24-35 lb/11-16 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 160 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 800 mg/day
Pediatric (4-5 years of age, 36-47 lb/16-21 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 240 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 1200 mg/day
Pediatric (6-8 years of age, 48-59 lb/22-27 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 320 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 1600 mg/day
Pediatric (9-10 years of age, 60-71 lb/27-32 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 400 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 2000 mg/day
Pediatric (11 years of age, 72-95 lb/33-43 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 480 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 2400 mg/day
Geriatric
  • Recommended: 500-1000 mg every 4-6 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 4000 mg/day

Dosage for fever

Adult
  • Recommended: 500-1000 mg every 4-6 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 4000 mg/day
Pediatric (2-3 years of age, 24-35 lb/11-16 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 160 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 800 mg/day
Pediatric (4-5 years of age, 36-47 lb/16-21 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 240 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 1200 mg/day
Pediatric (6-8 years of age, 48-59 lb/22-27 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 320 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 1600 mg/day
Pediatric (9-10 years of age, 60-71 lb/27-32 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 400 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 2000 mg/day
Pediatric (11 years of age, 72-95 lb/33-43 kg in weight)
  • Recommended: 480 mg every 4 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 2400 mg/day
Geriatric
  • Recommended: 500-1000 mg every 4-6 hours till symptoms last
  • Maximum: 4000 mg/day

Minimum Age

Infants older than one month

Overdose

What to do if you overdose on Paracetamol
If you have taken more than the recommended dose of Paracetamol, get medical advice immediately. If the overdose has happened within the last 1 hour, the toxic effect can be reduced by taking activated charcoal. Activated Charcoal is a form of carbon that has small, low-volume pores. These pores help trap chemicals as in the case of poisoning. N-acetylcysteine may be used as an antidote up to 24 hours after ingestion of Paracetamol. It is best to use N-acetylcysteine within 8 hours of overdose. Oral methionine may be also be used as an alternative if the patient is in a remote area without access to a hospital or medical care.
Symptoms of an overdose of Paracetamol
If you use too much of this medicine, it could lead to dangerous levels of the drug in your body. In such cases, symptoms of overdose may include:
  • pale color of the skin (pallor)
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • abdominal pain
  • presence of an excessive amount of acids in the body (metabolic acidosis)
  • liver failure
  • kidney injury caused by damage to the kidney tubule cells
  • inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
If you think you have overdosed on Paracetamol, call a poison control center immediately. If residing in the US, call at 1-800-222-1222. For all the other countries, you can look up the poison control center information from the Poison Center Finder at TabletWise.com.

Missed Dose

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take a second dose to make up for the dose that you may have missed.

Special Instructions

Oral formulations
Use tablets and capsules without regard to food. Chewable tablets must be crushed or chewed before swallowing.
Extended-release (long-acting) tablet
Swallow the whole extended-release tablets without splitting, chewing, crushing or dissolving them.
Orally disintegrating tablet
Properly dissolve or chew the medication before swallowing.
Suspension or solution
Shake well before use. Use the measuring cup or syringe for accurate dose measurement. Always use the measuring devices that come with product packaging.
Rectal suppositories
Using your finger, insert the suppository into the rectum and stand up for about 15 minutes. Wash your hands thoroughly after suppositories insertion.

Expired Medication

Taking a single dose of expired Paracetamol is unlikely to produce a side-effect. However, please discuss with your primary health provider or pharmacist, if you feel unwell or sick. An expired medicine may become ineffective in treating your prescribed conditions. To be on the safe side, it is important not to use an expired drug. If you have a chronic illness that requires taking medicine constantly such as heart condition, seizures, and life-threatening allergies, you are much safer by always keeping a fresh supply of unexpired medications.

Safe Disposal of Medication

  • If there are disposal instructions on the package, please follow the instructions.
  • If there are medicine take-back programs in your country, you should contact the respective authority to arrange for the disposal of the medicine. For example, in the USA, the Drug Enforcement Administration periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back events.
  • If there are no take-back programs, mix the medicine with dirt and place them in a sealed plastic bag. Throw the plastic bag in your household trash. Separately, remove all personal information including the prescription label from the medicine packaging and then dispose off the container.
  • If specifically indicated on the medicine package that it needs to be flushed down the toilet when no longer needed, perform the required step.

Precautions while using Paracetamol

Before you use Paracetamol, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it.
Before you use Paracetamol, tell your doctor of your medical and health history including the following: liver disease, kidney disease, or chronic alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption may increase the risk of liver damage.
The use of Paracetamol during pregnancy should only be when required. This medication should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. The use of Paracetamol is known to be safe for use in women who are breastfeeding or nursing. This medication is secreted in breast milk but is not significant to cause any harm to the baby. Paracetamol is known to be safe for use in women who are trying to conceive a baby.
Avoid consuming alcohol together with Paracetamol. Consumption of alcohol may cause liver damage.
This medicine may cause bleeding in the stomach. Regular use of tobacco and alcohol while using this medicine can increase your risk of bleeding. Discuss this aspect with your doctor if you smoke and drink alcohol regularly. NSAID medicines mask certain infections.
If Paracetamol is used more frequently or for a prolonged period, you may develop a headache or it may worsen an existing headache.

Paracetamol Side-effects

Skin rash, itching, breathing problems, swelling of the lips, swelling of the tongue, swelling of the throat, swelling of the face, mouth ulcers, and bleeding may occur with the use of Paracetamol.
Infrequently or rarely, Paracetamol can cause an allergic reaction, rash, swelling, and blood disorders.
Using Paracetamol may cause severe skin reactions. The symptoms may include skin reddening, skin blister, and skin rash. In case of severe skin reactions, discontinue the medication and consult with the doctor.
Using Paracetamol may cause (possibly fatal) liver damage.
Your doctor has prescribed Paracetamol because they judge that the benefit is greater than the risk posed by side effects. Many people using this medicine do not have serious side effects. This page does not list all possible side effects of Paracetamol.
If you notice other side effects not listed above, contact your doctor for medical advice. You may also report side effects to your local food and drug administration authority. You can look up the drug authority contact information from the Drug Authority Finder at TabletWise.com.

Warnings

Patients with excessive alcohol consumption

Patients consuming three or more drinks per day are at increased risk with using this medication. Such patients may have an increased risk of liver damage. This medication should be used with the consultation of the physician in these patients.

Patients using other products containing paracetamol

Patients using other products containing this medication are at an increased risk when using this medicine 'cause it leads to higher level of this medication in the body. These patients may have an increased risk of liver damage and stomach bleeding. This medicine should not be used in such patients.

Patients with known allergy to paracetamol

Patients with known allergy to this medication or its inactive ingredients are at an increased risk when using this medication. A careful reading of the list of ingredients on the label helps to prevent allergic conditions with this medication.

Interactions with Paracetamol

Paracetamol interacts with domperidone, which is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by other drugs. Domperidone increases the rate of absorption of Paracetamol.
There may be an interaction of Paracetamol with metoclopramide, which is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease. Metoclopramide increases the rate of absorption of Paracetamol.
Paracetamol may interact with anticoagulants (warfarin and other coumarins), which are used to prolong the time it takes for the blood to clot. The combined usage of these medicines will lead to an increased risk of bleeding.
Your doctor's guidelines may need to be followed while taking this medication along with imatinib, which is used to treat leukemia and other kinds of cancers. Do not use Paracetamol together with Imatinib.
Special instructions need to be followed while taking this medication along with cholestyramine, which is used to lower high cholesterol levels and also treat severe itching caused by liver disease. Cholestyramine reduces the rate of absorption of Paracetamol.
Paracetamol may interact with other medicines containing Paracetamol (such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen combinations, migraine preparations, and some cough and cold medications). These medicines may increase the risk of an overdose of Paracetamol in the body which can lead to liver damage. Do not take these medicines simultaneously while using Paracetamol.
Medicine interactions change how medicines work and may increase the risk of side effects or allergic reactions. Prepare a list of prescription, non-prescription, and herbal medicine that you use and share this list with your pharmacist or doctor. Do not stop, change the dosage of, or start any new medicines without the approval of your doctor. This page does not contain all possible interactions of Paracetamol.

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