Paracetamol: Uses, Effects and Alternatives
Our favourite friend- Paracetamol
A very commonly used medicine-Paracetamol is a drug that is used to reduce mild or moderate pain such as toothache, headache, migraine, muscle sprain, period pain, joint pain and also a high fever caused by cold and flu. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) is generally considered safer than other non-opioid pain relievers for it is doesn’t contain side effects or have very less side effects.
It also helps in relieving mild arthritis but have no effect on underlying inflammation and swelling of joints. In simpler terms, it has no use in any inflammation and swelling case. Paracetamol can also be taken with other pain relievers if you have severe pain.
It is one of the most used medicines worldwide. Although its mechanism of action is poorly understood and the exact science of how this medicine works never came to light, still paracetamol remains popular due to its tolerability and safety when taken at recommended doses.
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Why Is Paracetamol So Popular?
Paracetamol is taken by most people. It is also considered safe to use during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period. It is a worldwide accepted drug for it does not react to other medications. Furthermore, it can also be taken with other pain relievers in case of severe pain having very less side effects or no side effects. This is why this medicine has been in use for decades.
How Safe Is Paracetamol?
Paracetamol is a safe drug if taken at recommended doses. Overdoes of it is known to cause liver failure (cirrhosis), heart attack, stomach bleeding and kidney failure. Overdoes or misuse of it can cause severe side effects. It’s best not to be tempted to increase its dose or double the dose in case of severe pain. It can also be life-threatening.
So we should always take it according to the prescribed dose by the doctor or pharmacist. The misuse of it can risk our life. Being the most commonly used drug, it is also the most frequently banned drug due to its misuse. That is why it has been banned in five different countries like India, the UK, Norway, Argentina, and Kirghizstan.
Uses Of Paracetamol
Paracetamol is a very useful drug. Some of its uses in our daily life are listed below:
- You can take Paracetamol for mild to moderate aches and pain such as toothache, period cramp, headache, migrane, joint pain and other types of pains as well.
- It can also be taken to reduce the high temperature (fever) of the body.
- In case of sever pain, it can also be taken with other pain relivers for its not-reactant property with other medication.
- It is also useful ingredients for wide range of cold and flu remadies.
Effects Of Paracetamol
If you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to paracetamol such as hives, difficulty in breathing, swelling of your face, tongue, lips, or throat, a feeling of nausea or vomiting then get immediate help from your family members and go to the nearest hospital. Stop using this medication and consult your doctor if you have serious side effects such as:
- Blood in stool or black, tarry stools.
- Blood in urine.
- Mild or high fever.
- Pain in the lower back or side (severe or sharp).
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Skin rash, hives, or itching all over the body.
- Sore throat, difficulty in swallowing.
- Soreness around your mouth, lips and face.
- The amount of urine decreases.
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Extreme fatigue and tiredness.
- Yellow eyes or skin which is the sign of Yellow fever(Jundice)
Alternative Of Paracetamol
There are some drugs that can be used in place of paracetamol to relieve pain and aches. Some of the alternatives of paracetamol are mentioned below:
Ibuprofen is one of the best alternatives to paracetamol. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is used in a very similar way to paracetamol as it treats pain, aches and fever. The main difference is that Ibuprofen can reduce inflammation and swelling due to this reason Paracetamol is inferior to Ibuprofen.
One great thing about ibuprofen is that it is safe to take in conjunction with paracetamol, as the two drugs work on the body in different ways. However, regular use of it is no good. It increases the risk of organ damage, bleeding and even can cause heart diseases. It’s very necessary to stick up to the right dose and do not take it if you are pregnant.
Aspirin is another type of NSAID that provide relief to the body from inflammatory based pain. It has been found useful when taken regularly in the right amount to lower the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes and other blood flow problems in patients who have cardiovascular disease or who have already had a heart attack or stroke. Though it provides similar relief to paracetamol, its effect is a lot slower compared to paracetamol.
Those with high blood pressure should avoid the use of aspirin. And child younger the 16 unless prescribed by a doctor, should also avoid its use for there is a high risk of Reye’s syndrome development.
Codeine is used to relieve mild to moderate pain. It is an opiate and prodrug of morphine used to treat pain, coughing, and diarrhoea. It is found naturally in the sap of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. It should be taken in proper doses and should be prescribed by a doctor, usually because it can be easy to become dependent on it. It should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time.
Here, these all are the alternatives to Paracetamol besides Diclofenac gel, Effervescent painkillers, Amitriptyline and many more. These all painkillers should be taken only under the prescription of doctors. Misuse of it or overdose of it can be life-threatening.
Shortage Of Paracetamol during Covid-19
During the first outbreak of Covid-19, there was a shortage of paracetamol. Many pharmacists and the person responsible for selling cetamol created an artificial shortage for selling them in the black market. That was inhuman activity from their side. Then was the time when many people realized the importance and usefulness of medicine-Paracetamol.
At the time of the pandemic, is when people requires medicine. In such time, responsible people for selling medicine shouldn’t carry out such inhuman acts instead help one another to overcome difficulties together. And common citizens should not buy medicine more than required with the intention of keeping it in stock for their use due to the fear of its shortage. We should be responsible citizens and help one another to overcome pandemics.
Always keep the medicine not only paracetamol but all kinds of medicine out of reach from the children, do not share your medicine with others and do not use the medicine without the prescription of a medical specialist.
Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication and take your medicine timetable.
Paracetamol is a very good pain reliever for us having rare side effects. If it is used in proper doses and the proper amount, it is proved to be beneficial to us. But if it is misused, then it can have severe side effects. It can even take our life in the worst scenario. So, we should always take it in right does with the prescription of the doctor.
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