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Paracetamol is one of the better-known medications in the world today, used for the treatment of various issues, including pain, discomfort and high fever. This medication was introduced into the market in 1983 and has gathered a great deal of attention ever since. More information

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Paracetamol is a common form of painkiller. It is one of the most widely known and used painkillers on the market and can be effective at reducing fever too. Paracetamol is often recommended before other pain killers because it is such a well-tolerated medication with very few potential side effects to consider.  

What is Paracetamol? 

Paracetamol is one of the better-known medications in the world today, used for the treatment of various issues, including pain, discomfort and high fever. This medication was introduced into the market in 1983 and has gathered a great deal of attention ever since. Currently, it’s the first medication typically recommended by a doctor when patients are suffering from high fever and pain caused by virtually any ailment.  

Paracetamol is an analgesic. In some cases, analgesics are also referred to as standard painkillers. These substances are used to relieve the more mild and moderate feelings of pain that some people have for a range of reasons. You can also take Paracetamol to help with lowering a raised temperature and keeping fever under control.  

Paracetamol is a very common painkiller that is available to purchase from a number of retail outlets. Often delivered as liquid medicine, tablets, and capsules, Paracetamol can come in a variety of forms. Crucially, a lot of over-the-counter products for general aches, pains, and even the common cold will include paracetamol as an active ingredient. You will need to check the label of any medication you take when using Paracetamol to ensure that you’re not taking a higher dose than is safe.  

When is Paracetamol used? 

Paracetamol is suitable for use to treat a wide range of conditions. As a pain reliever and fever reducer, it can be suitable for helping to manage the symptoms of everything from the common cold and basic headaches to toothache, back ache and muscle pain. Although Paracetamol relieves mild pain and reduces fever so that the body can heal more effectively, it is unlikely to have any significant effect on the underlying issue that is causing you to feel unwell. 

While Paracetamol can be used as part of a treatment to help relieve pain and discomfort, other medications are often recommended, particularly when infections and other issues are present.  

How do you use Paracetamol? 

Paracetamol is available both via prescription and over the counter in a range of different formats. The fact that Paracetamol comes in so many different forms means that it can also be taken in different ways, depending on your needs. You will need to use Paracetamol exactly as you are directed to do so by the label that is provided with this medication. Before you begin taking this substance you can ask your consultant if you have any questions about how to use it effectively.  

Paracetamol is a relatively safe painkiller, but you should never use more of this medication than is recommended by a professional. The maximum amount that any adult should take is a single gram per dose and 4 grams per day. Using excessive amounts of Paracetamol could cause serious damage to your liver. If you usually drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages a day, then you should speak to your doctor before taking more than 2 grams of paracetamol a day. Do not give this medication to a child under the age of 2 without medical advice.  

If you are taking the liquid version of Paracetamol, then you will need to measure the dose carefully using a special spoon or cup, rather than a standard tablespoon. If you don’t have a device for measuring your medicine properly, ask your doctor for one. You will need to shake the liquid thoroughly before using it.  

Paracetamol tablets can be taken whole with a glass of water, before or after food. If you are given the chewable tablet, then you will need to crush the substance thoroughly before you swallow it. Some people find it helpful to wash the remaining substance down with a glass of water after chewing. Make sure that your hands are dry if you are handling the disintegrating version of this pill. When you place the tablet on your tongue it will begin to dissolve immediately. Do not swallow Paracetamol whole when using the dissolvable tablet.  

If you have been given the effervescent granules for this medication, dissolve a single packet into at least four ounces of water. Stir the mixture and drink all of it immediately. Make sure that you get all of the dose by adding a little more water to the glass and swirling before drinking. Do not take a rectal suppository for Paracetamol by mouth. Wash your hands thoroughly and attempt to empty your bladder and bowel before using the suppository. Remove the outer wrapper before you place it. You may need to lie down to place the suppository into the rectum.  

What dosages are there? 

Paracetamol comes in a wide variety of different doses depending on what it is intended for, and what kind of paracetamol you are being given. For instance, if you are taking the standard tablet version of Paracetamol, then it is available in doses of 120mg, 240mg, 500mg, and 1000mg. The amount you take each day will be suggested to you by your consultant based on the nature of your condition. 

Adults and children over the age of 15 taking Paracetamol can often take between 500 and 1000mg once four times per day. Children aged between 12 and 15 can take 500mg six times per day. Children aged between 9 and 12 can take 500mg three or four times per day. Children under the age of nine might be given chewable tablets or oral solutions instead of Paracetamol tablets. You should always follow the instructions provided to you by your doctor and the medical leaflet included with Paracetamol.  

Usually, you will be able to take paracetamol once every six hours, depending on your condition. Do not take more than four doses a day and remember to leave four hours between doses. Do not take more than four doses of paracetamol in 24 hours. Paracetamol can be taken before or after food. If you are giving Paracetamol to your child, read the label carefully to check the dose.  

What are the side effects of Paracetamol? 

For the treatment of pain and high fever, Paracetamol is often recommended before any other medication, because it is very well tolerated. Unlike other medications, Paracetamol is very safe for most people, and causes very few side effects. However, like all drugs, Paracetamol may still cause side effects depending on your medical history and background. It is important to be aware of the possible side effects that you might encounter so that you can seek medical attention if necessary.  

Some potential side effects of Paracetamol might include reduced fever with nausea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain. Tell your doctor if you start to notice more severe side effects, such as yellowing of the skin and eyes that indicates jaundice. Speak to a medical professional immediately if you have dark urine and clay colored stool.  

It is very unlikely that you will have an allergic reaction to Paracetamol. However, you should seek emergency medical help if you notice any of the signs of a reaction, including difficulty breathing, swelling around the tongue, throat, face or lips, and hives. Stop using this medication and call a doctor or health provider immediately if you have any worrying side effects after taking this medication, even if the side effects are not listed here.  

When shouldn't you use Paracetamol? 

Paracetamol is a very well-tolerated substance that can be taken by both adults and children without side effects for the most part. Usually, you will be able to still take Paracetamol in many circumstances, even if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. However, you should always check with your consultant or a doctor if you are concerned about how much Paracetamol is safe to take when you are pregnant or nursing.  

You may need to have extra appointments booked with a doctor if you are using Paracetamol while you have certain conditions. For instance, it can be dangerous to use paracetamol if you drink large amounts of alcohol regularly, or you have a serious problem with how your liver or kidneys work.  

You should not take Paracetamol if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. If you have allergies to any other substances, it is a good idea to tell your consultant.  

Does Paracetamol interact with any other medications? 

If you are taking other medicines that have been prescribed by a doctor, then these may interact with Paracetamol, so keep that in mind. Tell your doctor about any medications that you are taking alongside Paracetamol, including all over-the-counter medications, herbal products, vitamins, and minerals. Do not begin using a new medication without telling your doctor first. 

Avoid using over-the-counter cold, cough or pain medication with Paracetamol. This substance may be contained in a number of different over the counter medications.  

Where can you buy Paracetamol? 

Paracetamol is available to buy over the counter and online in many different forms and dosages. Speak to a consultant about your individual needs.  

Can you get Paracetamol without a prescription?  

It is possible to get Paracetamol without a prescription.  


BNF.Nice, online, 2019, “Brand name: PARACETAMOL”, [Accessed 3rd of December 2019], Available on:, 2019,  “Paracetamol for adults” [Accessed 3rd of December 2019], Available on:, online, 2019, “Calpol, Disprol, Hedex, Panadol” [Accessed 3rd of December 2019], Available on:: 

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.