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Acetaminophen: Uses, side effects, dosage and interactions

    Acetaminophen: Uses, side effects, dosage and interactions

    What is Acetaminophen?

    Acetaminophen, also known as Paracetamol, is an over-the-counter pain reliever that’s commonly used to relieve fevers and minor aches and pains.

    It’s one of the most widely used medications in the world, with over 36 billion doses dispensed each year.

    Acetaminophen can be found in prescription drugs, such as Percocet and Vicodin, but it can also be bought on its own under brand names like Tylenol and Anacin-3.

    It is available over the counter and in generic form.

    Uses of Acetaminophen:

    Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer. It is used to treat many conditions such as headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fevers.

    Acetaminophen is also used to reduce fever in children. Acetaminophen may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

    The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not known. Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain from various conditions such as headache, dental pain, menstrual cramps, arthritis, or other types of pain. It is also used to reduce fever.

    Acetaminophen may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you may need to take it with other drugs.

    Dosage of Acetaminophen:

    The maximum daily dose of acetaminophen is 4 grams or 8 pills per day. The dose should not exceed more than 1 gram per hour or 2 pills every 4 hours without medical supervision.

    If you take too much acetaminophen, call your doctor or poison control center right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Side effects from taking acetaminophen are rare but can include nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, rash and allergic reactions like hives.

    Side effects of Acetaminophen:

    Common side-effects of acetaminophen include:

    • constipation;
    • diarrhea;
    • nausea; and
    • vomiting.

    Acetaminophen may also cause more serious side effects such as:

    • allergic reactions;
    • liver damage; and
    • skin rashes.

    If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking acetaminophen and contact your doctor immediately.

    Interactions of Acetaminophen:

    The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not known. Acetaminophen is thought to act primarily in the central nervous system (CNS) to produce its analgesic and antipyretic effects. It does not act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

    As with all medications, there are potential benefits and risks associated with acetaminophen use. Your doctor will decide if this medication is right for you by weighing the potential benefits against any possible risks.

    Acetaminophen may also be used for other conditions not listed here. Always consult your physician or pharmacist before taking acetaminophen if you have had any of these medical conditions:

    • liver disease;
    • kidney disease;
    • asthma;
    • alcohol abuse;
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
    • diabetes mellitus with ketoacidosis (insulin deficiency);
    • eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa; and
    • gout attack.

    In case of overdose call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

    Conclusion:

    Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. It is used to relieve pain from headaches, muscle aches, toothaches, menstrual cramps, arthritis, or other types of pain. It is also used to reduce fever. Acetaminophen is usually taken orally. However, it can also be given rectally or intravenously. The most common side-effect of acetaminophen is mild gastrointestinal upset.

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