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Acetaminophen (Into the rectum)

Treats minor pain and reduces fever in children or in people who cannot take acetaminophen by mouth.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Evidence on interventions for paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose patients is weak

Poisoning with paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a common cause of hepatic injury. The evidence for all interventions for paracetamol overdose is weak. Activated charcoal, gastric lavage, and ipecacuanha are able to reduce absorption of paracetamol if started within one to two hours of paracetamol ingestion, but the clinical benefit is unclear. Activated charcoal seems to be the best choice if the patient is compliant. N‐acetylcysteine seems superior to no intervention and other antidotes (dimercaprol, cysteamine) and should be administered to patients at significant risk of hepatic damage. However, N‐acetylcysteine superiority to methionine is unclear. Liver transplantation will clearly benefit patients with irreversible hepatic failure. However, identifying such patients early is problematic and the long‐term outcomes in this group of patients have not been reported. Other interventions have not shown any clinical benefit for paracetamol overdose.

Single dose oxycodone and oxycodone plus paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) for analgesia in adults with acute postoperative pain

This review update assessed evidence from 2641 participants in 20 randomised, double blind, placebo‐controlled clinical trials of oxycodone, with or without paracetamol, in adults with moderate to severe acute postoperative pain. Oral oxycodone 10 mg plus paracetamol 650 mg provided effective analgesia. About half of those treated experienced at least half pain relief over 4 to 6 hours, and the effects lasting up to 10 hours. Higher doses gave more effect. Associated adverse events (predominantly nausea, vomiting, dizziness and somnolence) were more frequent with oxycodone or oxycodone plus paracetamol than with placebo, but studies of this type are of limited use for studying adverse effects. Limited information about oxycodone on its own suggests that it provided analgesia at doses greater than 5 mg, and that addition of paracetamol made it more effective.

Single dose oral paracetamol (acetaminophen) for postoperative pain relief in adults

Pain is commonly experienced after surgical procedures, and is not always well controlled. This review assessed data from fifty‐one studies and found that paracetamol provided effective pain relief for about half of participants experiencing moderate to severe pain after an operation, including dental surgery for a period of about four hours. There were no clear differences between doses of paracetamol typically used. These single dose studies did not associate paracetamol with any serious side effects.

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Summaries for consumers

Evidence on interventions for paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose patients is weak

Poisoning with paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a common cause of hepatic injury. The evidence for all interventions for paracetamol overdose is weak. Activated charcoal, gastric lavage, and ipecacuanha are able to reduce absorption of paracetamol if started within one to two hours of paracetamol ingestion, but the clinical benefit is unclear. Activated charcoal seems to be the best choice if the patient is compliant. N‐acetylcysteine seems superior to no intervention and other antidotes (dimercaprol, cysteamine) and should be administered to patients at significant risk of hepatic damage. However, N‐acetylcysteine superiority to methionine is unclear. Liver transplantation will clearly benefit patients with irreversible hepatic failure. However, identifying such patients early is problematic and the long‐term outcomes in this group of patients have not been reported. Other interventions have not shown any clinical benefit for paracetamol overdose.

Single dose oxycodone and oxycodone plus paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) for analgesia in adults with acute postoperative pain

This review update assessed evidence from 2641 participants in 20 randomised, double blind, placebo‐controlled clinical trials of oxycodone, with or without paracetamol, in adults with moderate to severe acute postoperative pain. Oral oxycodone 10 mg plus paracetamol 650 mg provided effective analgesia. About half of those treated experienced at least half pain relief over 4 to 6 hours, and the effects lasting up to 10 hours. Higher doses gave more effect. Associated adverse events (predominantly nausea, vomiting, dizziness and somnolence) were more frequent with oxycodone or oxycodone plus paracetamol than with placebo, but studies of this type are of limited use for studying adverse effects. Limited information about oxycodone on its own suggests that it provided analgesia at doses greater than 5 mg, and that addition of paracetamol made it more effective.

Single dose oral paracetamol (acetaminophen) for postoperative pain relief in adults

Pain is commonly experienced after surgical procedures, and is not always well controlled. This review assessed data from fifty‐one studies and found that paracetamol provided effective pain relief for about half of participants experiencing moderate to severe pain after an operation, including dental surgery for a period of about four hours. There were no clear differences between doses of paracetamol typically used. These single dose studies did not associate paracetamol with any serious side effects.

See all (140)

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