Parents & Patients

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Paracetamol

Indications & dosing

Paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) is a medicine that is used in children for mild to moderate pain and also used to help control fever.

It is usually given 4 -6 hourly with a maximum of 4 doses within a 24 hour period. The actual dose will be calculated by your GP or paediatrician but if you bought the paracetamol over the counter there will be guideline doses on the bottle.

Please note that within the UK paracetamol syrup is sold in 2 strengths for children so please ensure that you check the bottle to make sure that you are giving the right amount for your child.

Does it matter which brand of paracetamol I buy?

In the UK there are several different brands of paracetamol syrup that are used in children. Common brands include; Panadol®, Disprol®, Calpol®, Medinol®, Alvedon®, Perfalgan®. In addition, supermarkets may have there own brands. The price range between these brands is very wide. The basic active ingredient is however the same so, NO, it does not matter which brand you buy as long as you follow the dosing instructions on the bottle.

Is it safe?

There are clear dosing guidelines on bottles of paracetamol bought within the UK and as long as you adhere to these you should be fine.

Recently there has been some debate about the safety of paracetamol in pregnancy  and there has also been a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal questioning how effective paracetamol actually is and also looking at potential safety issues.

Despite these question marks, paracetamol remains an important medicine to help manage common childhood illnesses.

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