Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)

Brand Name: Tylenol, Panadol, Calpol, Paracetamol, Crocin
Generic Name: Paracetamol or acetaminophen

About paracetamol (acetaminophen)?

Not a single person is immune to pain especially headache, backache, toothache, fever, etc. whether it is due to stress, or some other diseases.  Whenever people are suffering from any pain or they have slight fever of unknown origin, they simply prefer paracetamol as a pain reliever.

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is an anti-pyretic analgesic drug, which means that they reduce fever and decrease pain. It belongs to the group of drugs called NSAID (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug), though they have a very least anti-inflammatory effect. They are para-amino phenol derivatives.
Paracetamol(acetaminophen) has a central analgesic action which means that it raises the pain threshold and promplty acting antipyretic effect. This might be the major reason why it is used so widely for any kind of fever as a blind therapy without any prescription
paracetamol (acetaminophen) is available in different forms such as tablets,capsules, liquid solutions (especially aimed for children). But it is very famous in tablets. some of the common brand names available in the market are; TYLENOL, PANADOL, CALPOL, PARACETAMOL (very widely  used), CROCIN etc.
There are also some others which are not listed in the list. Paracetamol is sold combined with some other drugs also, but it would be good to take the combined drug only with after consultation with  doctor or pharmacist.
Since it is over the counter drug , anyone above 18 years of age can buy the drug without any prescription of the doctor. 

Brief history of paracetamol

Long before in the late 18th century, paracetamol  originally  was synthesized by Harmon Northrop Morse .But it was not used for medical purpose until another two decades. Later after its detail  investigation, it was  found that paracetamol was active metabolite of  acetanilide but it was also ignored at that time.
After several years, with the involvement of other  researchers, study of paracetamol, its uses, toxicity and and other several properties was successful. In mid 19th century, the product was sold in United State under the brand name called TYLENOL as an antipyretic (fever reducer) and analgesic (pain reliever). Sooner paracetamol  gained its popularity widely in different countries around the world. FDA first approved paracetamol in November 2nd, 2010.

How to take paracetamol (acetaminophen)?

Paracetamol can be taken orally (capsules, tablets, powders and suspension), intravenously (injections)  and rectally (suppositories). But since intravenous and rectal route is difficult, it should only be done by experienced person under the supervision of a doctor.
For oral route, you can just take your oral dose as prescribed by the doctor. But since it is commonly available in every household be careful that children can misuse it. Also, remember that the dose needs to be controlled in the children as it might cause poisoning in childrens.
Also let your doctor know if you are using any other drug formulations.

How does paracetamol (acetaminophen) works?

Paracetamol is an analgesic with antipyretic action. It has a very weak antiinflammatory effect. 
During any inflammatory process, different chemicals are released such as prostaglandin. This is responsible for the pain and temperature during the inflammatory process. Paracetamol blocks the production of the prostaglandins as a result of which there is decrease pain and decrease in fever.
The analgesic effect of paracetamol is also directly due to central action( directly acting on brain). Paracetamol raises the pain threshold which means that the pain tolerance is increased so we feel reduce in the pain, which is a similar effects as aspirin.
As for antipyretic action it is due to direct action on the COX receptors on brain( COX-3). It inhibits the COX-3 receptors of the brain and also it acts on the areas of the brain that conrol the temperature.
Though there are many theories regarding how paracetamol works but the exact mechanism is still unclear.