Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon


share icon
share icon

Define Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen, often known as paracetamol, is a pain reliever that is used to treat mild to moderate pain and fever. acetaminophen only marginally lowers body temperature at a typical dose; it is inferior to ibuprofen in this regard, and the benefits of its use for fever are uncertain. In acute migraine, acetaminophen greatly reduces pain, but only marginally in episodic tension headache. 

The combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine, on the other hand, is effective for both diseases and is suggested as a first-line treatment. Although acetaminophen is beneficial in the treatment of post-surgical pain, it is not as effective as ibuprofen.

This article will study Acetaminophen, acetaminophen uses, acetaminophen classification

and acetaminophen vs paracetamol in detail.

When Was Acetaminophen Invented?

In 1877, acetaminophen was created for the first time. In both the United States and Europe, it is the most widely prescribed pain and fever drug. It is listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. acetaminophen is a generic drug that goes by the brand names Tylenol and Panadol, among others. With over 27 million prescriptions written in 2018, it was the sixteenth most widely prescribed drug in the United States.

Northrop, Harmon Morse in 1877, produced acetaminophen at Johns Hopkins University by reducing p-nitrophenol with tin in glacial acetic acid, but clinical pharmacologist Joseph von Mering did not test acetaminophen on humans until 1887.

Triagesic, a mix of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine, was the first acetaminophen product to be introduced in the United States in 1950. It was taken off the market in 1951 when three users were diagnosed with the blood disorder agranulocytosis, and it took several years to figure out that the sickness was unrelated. Acetaminophen was reintroduced to the US market as a prescription medicine the following year, in 1952. In the United Kingdom, Sterling-Winthrop Co. began marketing acetaminophen as Panadol in 1956, and it was advertised as a better alternative to aspirin because it was safe for children and individuals with ulcers.

Dosage of Acetaminophen and Paracetamol

A maximum daily intake of three to four grammes is recommended for adults. Toxic effects, including liver failure, may occur at higher doses. In the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, acetaminophen poisoning is the leading cause of acute liver failure, accounting for the majority of drug overdoses.

Structure of Acetaminophen

[Image will be uploaded soon]

Synthesis of Acetaminophen and Paracetamol

Classical Method:

The acetylation of 4-aminophenol with acetic anhydride is the final step in traditional acetaminophen manufacturing processes. The way they make 4-aminophenol differs. In one approach, phenol is nitrated using nitric acid to produce 4-nitrophenol, which is then hydrogenated over Raney nickel to produce 4-aminophenol. Nitrobenzene is reduced electrolytically in another technique, yielding 4-aminophenol immediately.

Celanese synthesis

Direct acylation of phenol with acetic anhydride in the presence of hydrogen fluoride, conversion of the resultant ketone to a ketoxime with hydroxylamine, and the acid-catalyzed Beckmann rearrangement is all part of an alternative commercial synthesis discovered by Celanese.

Acetaminophen Uses

Acetaminophen uses in medical science.

1. Fever

When it comes to treating fever, acetaminophen is the medicine of choice. However, there hasn't been much research done on its antipyretic qualities, especially in adults. According to the most recent review on acetaminophen and fever management in general practice (2008), its advantages remain unclear. Furthermore, acetaminophen may cure a clogged or runny nose but no other cold symptoms such as sore throat, malaise, sneezing, or cough when used for the common cold; however, these data are of poor quality.

Acetaminophen had no effect in the treatment of dengue fever, and it was associated with a higher rate of liver enzyme increase, which could indicate liver damage. Overall, there is little evidence that antipyretic medications, such as acetaminophen, should be given to hospitalised patients with fever and illness on a regular basis.

2. Pain

Acetaminophen is used to treat mild to moderate pain, including headaches, muscle pains, minor arthritis pain, toothaches, and discomfort from colds, flu, sprains, and dysmenorrhea. Because there is inadequate evidence for the treatment of chronic pain, it is especially suggested for acute mild to severe pain.

3. Musculoskeletal Pain

The effectiveness of acetaminophen in musculoskeletal diseases like osteoarthritis and backache is unknown.

In osteoarthritis, it appears to produce only minor and clinically insignificant advantages. The American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation's guideline for the therapy of osteoarthritis emphasises that acetaminophen's impact size in clinical trials has been relatively tiny, implying that it is useless for most people.

4. Headaches 

For acute migraine, acetaminophen is effective: 39% of patients receive pain alleviation within one hour, compared to 20% in the control group. The combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine "shows high evidence of effectiveness and can be used as a first-line treatment for migraine," according to the study.  It is a better alternative to ibuprofen and sumatriptan. For self-medication of migraine, the German, Austrian, and Swiss headache organisations, as well as the German Society of Neurology, advocate the combination as a "highlighted" option, with acetaminophen alone as a first choice.

5. Dental and Other Post-Surgical Pain

Pain following dental surgery is a good model for how analgesics work on other types of acute pain. acetaminophen is not as effective as ibuprofen in relieving such pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or diclofenac in full therapeutic dosage are demonstrably more effective than the acetaminophen/codeine combination commonly prescribed for dental pain. Combinations of acetaminophen with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or diclofenac are promising and may provide better pain relief than either acetaminophen or the NSAID alone. Furthermore, the combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be preferable to acetaminophen/codeine and ibuprofen/codeine.

6. Other Pain

In newborn newborns, acetaminophen fails to reduce procedural discomfort. acetaminophen appears to be less effective than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines for postpartum perineal pain (NSAIDs).

There isn't enough research to back up or reject the use of acetaminophen for cancer pain and neuropathic pain.

7. Patent Ductus Arteriosus

In patent ductus arteriosus, acetaminophen aids ductal closure. It is as effective as ibuprofen or indomethacin for this purpose, but it causes less gastrointestinal bleeding than ibuprofen.

Did You Know?

Acetaminophen is not better tolerated than ibuprofen for short-term pain relief. Nausea and abdominal pain are common gastrointestinal side effects, and their incidence is comparable to that of ibuprofen. It's probable that risk-taking behaviour will increase. The medicine may induce rare and potentially fatal skin responses such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, despite a review of the French Pharmacovigilance Database indicating no clear risk of these events.

The frequency of participants reporting side effects in clinical trials for osteoarthritis was identical for those taking acetaminophen and those taking a placebo. However, individuals using acetaminophen were approximately four times more likely to have abnormal liver function tests (indicating inflammation or injury to the liver), however, the clinical significance of this impact is unknown. A decline in haemoglobin level indicating gastrointestinal bleeding was found in 20% of individuals after 13 weeks of acetaminophen therapy for knee pain, a rate identical to the ibuprofen group.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Acetaminophen

1. What is the Difference Between Acetaminophen and Paracetamol?

Ans. Acetaminophen, often known as acetaminophen, is a medicine that is used to treat mild discomfort, such as headaches and joint and muscle discomfort, as well as to reduce fever. Acetaminophen is the main metabolite of the analgesic (pain-relieving) medicines acetanilide and phenacetin.

2. What are the Acetaminophen Uses?

Ans. Acetaminophen is used to treat mild to moderate discomfort caused by headaches, muscle pains, menstrual periods, colds and sore throats, toothaches, backaches, and vaccine responses (shots), as well as to lower fever.

3. Are Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen the Same?

Ans. No, it's not true. Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen, which is used to relieve pain and fever. Advil or Motrin are brand names for ibuprofen, which is used to relieve pain, fever, and inflammation.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science