What you need to know about Paracetamol

  1. Paracetamol has been used in Australia for the relief of pain and fever since the 1950s. It is available in many different forms for adults and children. Common brand names include Panadol, Herron Paracetamol, Panamax, Chemists’ Own and Dymadon. Most pharmacy chains and supermarkets also have their own ‘house brands’.
  2. Paracetamol is safe and effective when taken as directed on the label. However, if taken either in overdose or in amounts that exceed the recommended dose for more than a few days, the unwanted effects can be severe.
  3. Paracetamol is a useful medicine for people with chronic pain such as painful osteoarthritis. However, paracetamol should only be used for a long period of time under a doctor’s supervision.
  4. Many other medicines also contain paracetamol including medicines for coughs and colds, sinus congestion and period pain. The presence of paracetamol is always declared on the label. Be careful not to take more than one medicine containing paracetamol.
  5. Liquid paracetamol products for children come in different strengths and product forms such as baby drops and suspensions that are intended for infants and children of different ages and weights. Always read the label before measuring the dose. Be careful not to mix up the strengths as these are only suitable for certain age groups. Always use a metric medicine measure – don’t guess the dose.
  6. Don’t give paracetamol to infants, children or adolescents for more than 48 hours unless advised by a doctor.
  7. If an overdose of paracetamol is taken, people should contact the Poisons Information Centre (Phone 131
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