How commonly is acetaminophen used?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Susan E Farrell, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Extensive medical use of acetaminophen began in 1947. Initially in the United States, acetaminophen was available by prescription only. In 1960, this changed to an over-the-counter (OTC) status. The availability of acetaminophen in OTC preparations and the contraindication of aspirin-containing products for pediatric use (due to the association between aspirin and Reye syndrome), have made acetaminophen one of the most commonly used analgesic-antipyretic medications in current pediatric medicine. This widespread use and availability also applies to the adult population, both in the United States and the rest of the world. [3]

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol (outside the United States and Canada) and by its chemical name, N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (APAP), is available in more than 200 OTC and prescription medications, either as a single agent or in combination with other pharmaceuticals. Worldwide, acetaminophen is cited as a primary drug in over 50 brand- or trade-name products (eg, Tylenol, Panadol, Tempra, Mapap, FeverAll).

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