What is paracetamol and what is it for? Dosage and risks

According to data collected by the National Health System, according to a report based on data from the year 2013, our country spends around 9,183 million euros per year in medicines, through the billing of medical prescriptions. And according to these data, the paracetamol it is in second place in terms of consumption, reaching about 32 million containers (representing 3.8% of the total).

We are, as we see, before one of the most consumed drugs every year. In the same way that happens with other medicines that are just as common, as for example is the case of ibuprofen or the nolotil .

paracetamol

However, the reality is that few people know for sure when it is more appropriate to take one or the other, so it tends to be quite usual to make mistakes when consuming it. For example, although as we will see ibuprofen and paracetamol tend to share analgesic properties, however ibuprofen also acts as an anti-inflammatory, and paracetamol does not.

What is paracetamol?

As you may know, Paracetamol is a drug that acts as an analgesic and antipyretic . That is to say, It is a medicine with properties to calm pain and reduce fever . However, we should not confuse it with ibuprofen, since it does not act as an anti-inflammatory.

It belongs to the family of Paraaminophenols and acts by inhibiting the synthesis of protaglandins, which are cellular mediators responsible for the onset of pain. Although it is better known by the name of paracetamol , also receives other names like acetaminophen , acetaminophen Or simply DCI .

What is it for?

It is useful in case of mild and moderate pain, osteoarthritis and fever . That in broad strokes, because it is also useful in case of common cold or flu, to help relieve the pain associated with these conditions and be useful at the time of lowering the high temperature (fever).

effects-paracetamol

On the other hand, unlike what happens with acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol does not contribute in children with viral diseases to Reye's syndrome, which is why paracetamol has become one of the most consumed analgesics in cases of pain. soft or moderate

It is also common medical use in patients with hematological diseases (Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease or leukemia), in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Recommended doses of paracetamol

The recommended dose is between 500 and 650 milligrams every 8 hours , while the maximum dose is 1 gram every 6 hours (around 4 grams a day).

We must bear in mind that paracetamol is toxic above 6 grams a day , which can cause - as we will see - significant damage to the liver, resulting in liver failure (liver failure), and in some cases, causing death.

uses-paracetamol

What are the risks of paracetamol?

As usual we are facing a safe drug , that at normal doses does not tend to affect the gastric mucosa (that is, it tends to have a good digestive tolerance as there are no effects on the cyclooxygenase system), nor to the kidneys, nor to blood coagulation. In addition, it hardly presents allergic reactions.

However, at high doses it can cause severe liver damage. It is more, at the time of consuming it those patients that present some liver disease they should be careful, especially if taken at excessive doses.

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