Paracetamol (acetaminophen)

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Paracetamol is generally used to reduce discomfort caused by acute infection with certain minor surgical procedures, to reduce fever in patients not suffering of heart or respiratory failure.

However, there is very little evidence to support effectiveness of paracetamol to treat fever in patients not suffering of pulmonary or cardiovascular disease and to prevent seizures.

Paracetamol may prolong the infection and reduce the action of antibodies for mild disease and may increase mortality and morbidity in severe infections.

The dose for children should not exceed 10-15 mg / kg every four hours, maximum is 100 mg / kg / day and no patient should receive more than 4 grams of acetaminophen per day.


1. Overview
2. Indications
3. The importance of correct dosage


- Fever – In patients with cardiac or respiratory failure that are feverish, it may be helpful to reduce oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production and cardiac output. However, in patients not suffering of heart or lung disease, fever is dangerous only if it exceeds 41 C.

These high temperatures are usually caused by stroke, brain damage and therefore the appropriate treatment do not include paracetamol or aspirin.

- Febrile seizures – There is no evidence that this drug prevent febrile seizures, as seizures are caused by rapid increases in temperature that usually occurs at the onset of illness.

- Discomfort – It is questionable just to take paracetamol to reduce unpleasant symptoms caused by mild acute infections. However, acetaminophen has no dramatic effect. A recent study found only a modest improvement in activity and increase alertness in children with acute infections, but there was no significant improvement in their state of mind, comfort, appetite or fluid intake.

- Pain after surgery – Paracetamol provide adequate analgesia for minor surgery and allows lower dose of opioids after a major surgery. This medicine should be administered before surgery rather than to expect the postoperative pain to occur.

The importance of correct dosage

Correct dose of acetaminophen for a child depends on age but not weight. The usual dose is 15 mg / kg. If a child weighs 10 kg it must be given 150 mg of paracetamol.

It may be taken every four hours if necessary. Do not exceed recommended dose except your physician recommendation. In any child’s case, the dose should not exceed a total greater than 90 mg / kg in a day.

For children, paracetamol is available as syrup too. It is important to pay attention to drug dosing measure because it may include two types of units: mg and ml.

If paracetamol syrup concentration is 100 mg / ml, a 10 kg child, for example, will receive 1.5 ml. The appropriate use of paracetamol is beneficial to enhance the comfort of children suffering of illnesses and minor pain.

Understanding and verifying the correct dosage is important for parents to manage child medicine safely and effectively.



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