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Paracetamol

SCIENTIFIC TERM:

Para-acetylaminophenol

EFFECTS:

Paracetamol can be used to relieve mild to moderate aches and pains associated with conditions such as headaches, migraine, toothache, teething, colds and flu. It is also useful for reducing fever and discomfort associated with colds and flu and following vaccinations.  Paracetamol works as a painkiller by affecting chemicals in the body called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances released in response to illness or injury.  It blocks production prostaglandins and making the body less aware of the pain or injury. 

DRUG FORM & METHOD OF USE:

Tablet, capsules, caplets, soluble tablets and liquid are the main forms of Paracetamol.  Paracetamol reduces temperature by acting on the area of the brain responsible for temperature control.  Paraetamol should be used with caution for patients who suffer from liver damage or who have alcoholic tendencies.

HEALTH RISKS (long term) which includes withdrawal & tolerance:

Risks of Paracetamol depends on the dose and the appropriate treatment. In some cases, multiple organ failure, coma and death within days have been reported due to the excessive consumption of Paracetamol.  High dosage can cause liver damage. Low dosages rarely produce side effects.  Paracetamol is remarkably safe in recommended doses, but because of its wide availability, deliberate or accidental overdoses are fairly common.  Individuals who have overdosed on Paracetamol generally have no specific symptoms for the first 24 hours. Although Nausea, Vomiting, and Diaphoresis (sweating) may occur initially, these symptoms generally resolve after several hours.

LAW:

It is not illegal to possess or sell to Paracetamol.  Since September 1998, packs of the popular painkiller have been cut in size. They were reduced to a maximum of 32 tablets when sold from pharmacies and only 16 when sold over the counter in other shops.

  1. Overdoses of Paracetamol accounted for 40,000 hospital referrals a year and between 100 and 150 deaths.
  2. Overdoses of Paracetamol is also responsible for half of all cases of liver failure in the UK .
  3. Paracetamol is the most common way of self-poisoning in the UK .
  4. Approximately 30 million people each year use Paracetamol safely and properly.
  5. Paracetamol overdose is the most common cause of deliberate self-harm in Britain , with 70,000 cases recorded annually.
  6. Paracetamol was first used in medical treatment in 1893.
  7. Paracetamol is now the most widely accepted Antipyretic (relieves or reduces fever) and Analgesic    (a drug or medicine given to reduce pain without resulting in loss of consciousness.) in the UK
  8. It has been available in the UK since the 1950's. 
  9. A combination of large quantities of Paracetamol and caffeine may increase the risk of liver damage.
  10. Paracetamol was developed by accident in Germany in the eighteenth century.
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