Paracetamol[edit | edit source]
Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen or APAP, is a widely used over-the-counter pain medication and antipyretic (fever reducer). Paracetamol is classified as a mild analgesic. It is commonly used for the relief of headaches and other minor aches and pains and is a major ingredient in numerous cold and flu remedies. In combination with opioid analgesics, paracetamol can also be used in the management of more severe pain such as post-surgical and cancer pain. Though paracetamol is used to treat inflammatory pain, it is not generally classified as an NSAID because it exhibits only weak anti-inflammatory activity.
While generally safe for use at recommended doses, even small overdoses can be fatal. Compared to other over-the-counter pain relievers, paracetamol is significantly more toxic in overdose but may be less toxic when used chronically at recommended doses. Paracetamol is the active metabolite of phenacetin and acetanilide, both once popular as analgesics and antipyretics in their own right. However, unlike phenacetin, acetanilide and their combinations, paracetamol is not considered carcinogenic at therapeutic doses.
Acetaminophen is the name generally used in the United States (USAN) and Japan; paracetamol is used in international venues (INN, AAN, BAN). In some contexts, such as on prescription bottles of painkillers that incorporate this medicine, it is simply abbreviated as APAP, for acetyl-para-aminophenol. It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.Common trade names in English-speaking markets are Tylenol and Panadol.