Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. The exact mechanism of action of is not known.
Paracetamol is used to treat many conditions such as headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fevers. It relieves pain in mild arthritis but has no effect on the underlying inflammation and swelling of the joint.
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to acetaminophen or paracetamol.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take paracetamol if you have:
- liver disease; or
- a history of alcoholism;
It is not known whether paracetamol will harm an unborn baby. Before using paracetamol , tell your doctor if you are pregnant. This medication can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use paracetamol without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
There are many brands and forms of paracetamol available and not all brands are listed on this leaflet.
Do not use more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of paracetamol can cause serious harm. The maximum amount of paracetamol for adults is 1 gram (1000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4000 mg) per day. Taking more paracetamol could cause damage to your liver. If you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day, talk to your doctor before taking paracetamol and never use more than 2 grams (2000 mg) per day.
Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day or if you have had alcoholic liver disease (cirrhosis). You may not be able to use paracetamol .
Before using paracetamol , tell your doctor if you have liver disease or a history of alcoholism.
Do not use any other over-the-counter cough, cold, allergy, or pain medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Paracetamol is contained in many combination medicines. If you use certain products together you may accidentally use too much paracetamol . Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains paracetamol, acetaminophen or APAP. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage while taking paracetamol .
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to paracetamol: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- low fever with nausea, stomach pain, and loss of appetite;
- dark urine, clay-colored stools; or
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
This is not a complete list of paracetamol side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.