Paracetamol[edit | edit source]

Screen shot 2011-05-08 at 16.31.33.png

Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen or APAP, is a widely used over-the-counter pain medication and antipyretic (fever reducer).[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11] Paracetamol is the active metabolite of phenacetin and acetanilide, both once popular as analgesics and antipyretics in their own right.[12][13] However, unlike phenacetin, acetanilide and their combinations, paracetamol is not considered carcinogenic at therapeutic doses.[14]

Acetaminophen is the name generally used in the United States (USAN) and Japan; paracetamol is used in international venues (INN, AAN, BAN).[15][16][17] 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.[18]Common trade names in English-speaking markets are Tylenol and Panadol.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.