Every medication- whether OTC or prescription medicine- should be used as directed by a health professional. Here are things you should know before using paracetamol.
1. Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. It 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.
2. If you are using paracetamol, 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.
3. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medication. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage while taking paracetamol.
4. Since paracetamol is often used only when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are using the medication regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and use your next dose as directed. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
5. 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.
6. Urine glucose tests may produce false results while you are taking paracetamol. Talk to your doctor if you are diabetic and you notice changes in your glucose levels during treatment.
7. Do not use more of this medication than is recommended. An overdose of paracetamol can cause serious harm.
8. 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.
9. When taken by mouth it is rapidly absorbed into the body and will be effective within 15 to 30 minutes. The effects last up to 6 hours.
10. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this drug if you have known liver or kidney problems, or if you have a history of alcohol abuse.