Medical research

Relieving two headaches with one process

With a new method to synthesize a popular pain-relieving medication from plants rather than fossil fuels, researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have found a way to relieve two headaches at once.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Scientists find new therapy target for drug-induced liver failure

Acetaminophen—a commonly used pain reliever and fever reducer—is the leading cause of quickly developing, or acute, liver failure in the U.S. Findings from a new mouse study suggest that treatments that increase levels ...

Cardiology

Acetaminophen may increase stroke risk for those with diabetes

Acetaminophen (otherwise known by brand names such as Tylenol) is one of the most widely used pain relievers. Almost 60 years of widespread use have made acetaminophen a household product. It's distributed over the counter ...

Surgery

How a common drug causes liver failure

Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever found in every pharmacy. However, it is also the No. 1 cause of acute liver failure in the United States. In the liver, acetaminophen is converted into a new compound that covalently ...

Pediatrics

Acetaminophen can reduce recurrence of febrile seizures

(HealthDay)—Acetaminophen can reduce the risk for febrile seizure (FS) recurrence during the same fever episode among infants and children, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in Pediatrics.

Surgery

IV acetaminophen minimally helpful for colectomy pain

(HealthDay)—Intravenous acetaminophen does not decrease opioid utilization to a clinically significant threshold among colectomy patients, according to a study published in the July issue of Anesthesiology.

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Paracetamol

Paracetamol (INN) (pronounced /ˌpærəˈsiːtəmɒl, ˌpærəˈsɛtəmɒl/) or acetaminophen (/əˌsiːtəˈmɪnɵfrɨn/  ( listen)) (USAN) is a widely used over-the-counter analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). It is commonly used for the relief of fever, headaches, and other minor aches and pains, and is a major ingredient in numerous cold and flu remedies. In combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid analgesics, paracetamol is used also in the management of more severe pain (such as cancer or postoperative pain).

While generally safe for human use at recommended doses, acute overdoses (above 1000 mg per single dose and above 4000 mg per day for adults, above 2000 mg per day if drinking alcohol) of paracetamol can cause potentially fatal liver damage and, in rare individuals, a normal dose can do the same; the risk is heightened by alcohol consumption. Paracetamol toxicity is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the Western world, and accounts for most drug overdoses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Paracetamol is derived from coal tar, and is part of the class of drugs known as “aniline analgesics”; it is the only such drug still in use today. It is the active metabolite of phenacetin, once popular as an analgesic and antipyretic in its own right, but unlike phenacetin and its combinations, paracetamol is not considered to be carcinogenic at therapeutic doses. The words acetaminophen and paracetamol both come from chemical names for the compound: para-acetylaminophenol and para-acetylaminophenol. In some contexts, it is simply abbreviated as APAP, for N-acetyl-para-aminophenol.

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