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Paracetamol is in a class of painkillers known as analgesics and is more commonly known as acetaminophen or Tylenol. The over-the-counter form of this product is widely used by adults and children for relief of mild to moderate pain such as a headache, muscle ache, inflammation, and fever.  For individuals who have trouble tolerating other painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen due to gastric problems, it is often their best choice for pain relief.  The most popular forms of Paracetamol include tablet, capsule, liquid, or suppository.  In some cases, it can be administered by intravenous or intramuscular methods.

Paracetamol Uses, Abuse, and Risks

ParacetamolAlthough it is considered safe when used according to directions, there are many documented cases of acute liver problems that occur with prolonged use or deliberate abuse of this drug. Since alcohol is also known to cause liver problems, it is recommended that the individual avoids consuming alcohol while using it.  Individuals who require a more intensive pain relief product following surgery, or during a chronic illness such as cancer, will be prescribed it is combined with an opioid analgesic.  Examples of these are:

  • Percocet:  Paracetamol with Oxycodone
  • Vicodin:  Paracetamol with Hydrocodone
  • Tylenol 3: Paracetamol with Codeine

Complications and Side Effects

In most cases, severe liver complications or death occurs when the user develops a high tolerance to the opioid component of the drug and begins taking more, unaware that this higher dose of the Paracetamol in the drug is causing liver damage.  Side effects are the body’s way of letting us know something is wrong.  It is important to be aware of the potentially dangerous effects that can occur with prescribed use or with abuse of this drug.  Some of the following side effects can range from mild to severe:

  • Allergic reactions such as hives, rash, itching
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, throat, face
  • Numbness, tingling sensation
  • Mood changes, agitation, hallucinations
  • Shortness of breath, light-headedness, headache
  • Yellowing of eyes or skin
  • Dark urine, pale stools, trouble urinating
  • Tiredness, weakness, depression

Help, and Addiction Treatment

This is only a partial list of the side effects of this drug and Paracetamol combined with opioids.  If you are using any of the Paracetamol products, talk with your health care provider to learn about possible alternatives for treating your pain.  Or for more information about addiction treatment options, call us today.

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