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Paracetamol

Paracetamol (INN) or acetaminophen (USAN) is a popular analgesic and antipyretic drug that is used for the relief of fever, headaches, and other minor aches and pains. It is a major ingredient in numerous cold and flu medications and many prescription analgesics. It is remarkably safe in standard doses, but, because of its wide availability, deliberate or accidental overdoses are not uncommon.

Paracetamol, unlike other common analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen, has no anti-inflammatory properties, and so it is not a member of the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. In normal doses, paracetamol does not irritate the lining of the stomach or affect blood coagulation, the kidneys, or the fetal ductus arteriosus (as NSAIDs can).

Like NSAIDs and unlike opioid analgesics, paracetamol has not been found to cause euphoria or alter mood in any way. Paracetamol and NSAIDs have the benefit of being completely free of problems with addiction, dependence, tolerance and withdrawal.

The words acetaminophen and paracetamol both come from the chemical names for the compound: N-acetyl-para-aminophenol and para-acetyl-amino-phenol.