Paracetamol is one of the most widely used medicines in Australia and around the world. Millions of doses are administered worldwide each day. Paracetamol was number six on the list of top ten subsidised medicines in Australia with 36 defined daily doses per 1,000 people per day (including 6.8 million prescriptions in 2014).
These data do not include over-the-counter purchases in pharmacies or supermarkets (where small pack sizes are available), nor combination products that contain paracetamol.
Paracetamol is an analgesic (pain relief) and antipyretic (reduced fever). It is often found in combination with stronger analgesics such as codeine or in combination cold and flu products. Paracetamol is likely to be found in the medicine cabinet of most Australian homes and gets used for a variety of indications, most commonly for mild pain and fever.
Paracetamol is included on the World Health Organisation’s list of Essential Medicines.
Authors: The Conversation Contributor