Acetaminophen is a medication used to provide pain relief while also acting as a fever reducer. Because of its dual purposes, acetaminophen is cross referenced between two groups of medicinal classifications call analgesics, which change the way the body senses pain and antipyretics, which lower the body’s temperature.
Taken by itself or as an ingredient in another medication, acetaminophen is commonly recommended to patients suffering from the flu as it helps to relieve headaches and overall body pain while also providing relief from fever. Because of these abilities, acetaminophen is often an active ingredient in over the counter cough, cold and flu medications. Therefore it is essential to read the label on cold medicines before taking additional acetaminophen and possibly exceeding the recommended amount.
Acetaminophen is generally well tolerated in most adults and is also available in a special, lower dose formula appropriate for children. Conversely, prescription acetaminophen is also available through a doctor for more severe pain in adults. For example, prescription strength acetaminophen is often administered to patients who have undergone tooth extraction or dental surgery. Additionally, prescription strength or over the counter acetaminophen is sometimes used in combination with aspirin and caffeine for migraine sufferers.
When receiving your routine check up with your doctor, be sure to mention if you are a frequent acetaminophen user so you and your doctor can work together to make sure this is an appropriate option. There are some possible side effects associated with acetaminophen which could potentially become serious. The more serious of the side effects include rash, hives, excessive itching, swelling of the face or extremities, hoarseness or difficulty breathing or swallowing. Be sure to immediately discontinue use and alert a doctor if any of the above occurs.
Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used over the counter pain relievers because of its fever reduction properties and is sometimes preferred over other pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen which may act as blood thinners.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.