Acetaminophen, commonly known as Paracetamol is the most widely used analgesic and antipyretic that relieves pain and reduce fever. Discovered in 1877, the drug is typically used for mild to moderate pain. It is prescribed either alone with or in a combination with cold medication. The name ‘Paracetamol’ is approved by the International Nonproprietary, Australia and Britain, while Acetaminophen is the name that is approved and used in U.S and Japan.
Its pain reliever content is derived from a coal tar and is safe at recommended doses. It also appears to be safe during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. The drug is classified as mild analgesic used for relieving headaches, arthritis and other minor pains. It is also recommended for cold and flu remedies. As acetaminophen is normally used to treat inflammatory pain, it is classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
Acetaminophen is commercially available in the form of tablets, liquid suspensions, and capsules. The common adult dose is 500 to 1000 mg and the drug is safe for all age groups including children and infants. Acetaminophen is safe for use at recommended doses but overdose of drug leads to nausea, vomiting and sweating. Serious skin rashes may rarely occur, however high dose of the drug can result in liver failure.
Acetaminophen is composed of active metabolite of phenacetin and acetanilide, but unlike phenacetin and acenilide, their combination acetaminophen is not carcinogenic at therapeutic doses. Its effects last between two-four hours.
Owing to the increasing cases of chronic diseases and conditions that need pain management solutions on regular basis, the Paracetamol market is showing a growth. The market of Asia-Pacific leads in the market of Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) driven by the high growth markets of India and China. The high population and availability of cheap drugs has made Paracetamol highly popular in the market. Acetaminophen is also widely used and prescribed in North America and European markets. Although the drug has high growth market in India, in its recent guidelines on the ‘Safety and efficacy of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug’, Indian Medical Association (IMA) asked people to desist from using Paracetamol, saying that it cause more harm than good if taken without medical supervision.
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The Paracetamol market is currently being driven particularly in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina by spikes in healthcare costs and the easy availability of affordable Paracetamol drugs without the requirement of a prescription. The major companies which are involved in manufacturing Acetaminophen include Glaxo SmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Captab biotech, Arika healthcare, Aknil biotech, M.M. Pharma and Genesis Biotech.