Paracetamol myths debunked
Whether it's a work-induced migraine or a toothache from binging on too much dessert, we've all turned to paracetamol to alleviate our pains more than once in our lives.
But we are also well aware of the potential 'side effects' of taking too much of certain kinds of medicine. From common beliefs that you might fall prey to rumours that paracetamol might ruin your liver, we debunk the five common misconceptions you might have about paracetamol.
Myth 1: They all say paracetamol stays in the liver for SEVEN years
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Fact: People have many theories about how these "hard-to-digest" tablets remain in our bodies long after we've taken them. However, we're going to bust this myth because within 24 hours of ingesting a single dose of paracetamol, it would have left your system naturally1!
Myth 2: They all say paracetamol can stop working when you use it too much
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Fact: It’s true that your body can build up a tolerance when you're exposed to too much of something - just look at how immune you are to your mother’s nagging. But unlike what some people believe, there’s no evidence to show that your body builds tolerance to paracetamol over time2.
When it comes to consuming medicines, always keep to the recommended dosage listed on the product leaflet. In any case, if the pain persists for an extended period of time, your body's warning you that it's more serious than you thought and you should see a doctor.
Myth 3: They all say taking paracetamol damages your liver
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Fact: It's surprising to note how many of us buy into the belief that paracetamol comes loaded with side effects and can wreak total havoc on our livers - so much so that some of us have even grown hesitant to taking it. So it's time we put an end to the biggest myth of them all.
Over-the-counter paracetamol varieties like Panadol rarely show side effects when taken in recommended doses, which is why they're easily available at convenient stores without the need for a prescription.
Note: Those with existing liver conditions are advised to check in with their GP on whether the consumption of painkillers on top of their existing medication is safe.
Myth 4: They all don't like paracetamol because it's "always bitter"
Sometimes you can't decide what's worse - a throbbing headache or the brutal bitterness your tongue has to endure from tablets touching its sensitive surface.
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Fact: Not all remedies have to ravage your taste buds. Thanks to technological advancements, we now have alternatives to bitter tablets - there's a new line of paracetamols like Mini Caps which are considerably smaller and in a smooth gelatin capsule to make your task a lot less arduous.
And if you’re still embarrassed to admit as a grown adult that swallowing pills is a mammoth task, Panadol Soluble is the solution. It comes in the form of an effervescent tablet that contains paracetamol, is lemon-flavoured, and absorbs a lot more quickly than your regular paracetamol tablets.
Myth 5: They all say you need to steer clear of alcohol after taking painkillers
Fact: We're not advocating an entire weekend of binge drinking with paracetamol breaks in-between to curb your raging hangovers. But a one-off alcoholic beverage taken with or shortly after a dose of paracetamol3 won’t wreck your body.
With that said, studies have shown that if you’re a heavy drinker, taking any form of medication on top of that can damage your liver4. But as always, when in doubt, check with your local neighbourhood GP.
Panadol - a paracetamol we know well
You know that helpful ‘Singaporean spirit’ where the moment someone announces they have a headache, everyone is mobilized and goes round asking “Who got Panadol?! Who got Panadol?!”
Sure enough, the Panadol range has been our trusty pain-reliever since our bouts of coughs and fevers as kids, our first leg sprain during P.E., and now, easing the headaches we get when we work overtime.
And as you grow older, sure enough, the nature of pain you experience changes. But the best part is that medication has also levelled up. We now have 2-in-1 Panadol Cough & Cold Caplet that targets cough and cold symptoms and starts to provide quick relief in 30 minutes, Panadol Extra with Optizorb, that's 37% stronger than standard paracetamol, and Panadol Extend, which long-lasting release gives you pain-relief for up to to 8 hours.
With a strong arsenal of Panadol products at your fingertips, available over-the-counter from pharmacies and supermarkets, your solution to pain relief is always just around the corner. Just make sure you take them according to the recommended dosage. Remember, no more than 4g per 24 hour period as recommended on the box. This is just another friendly reminder. We don't want to sound like your naggy mummy.
This post was brought to you by Panadol.
1Martindale: (The Complete Drug Reference). Paracetamol. (Available at: https://www.medicinescomplete.com/mc/martindale/2009/2679-p.htm, retrieved 3 August 2017)
2Panadol UA Studies MYH April 15, slide 17 (based on sample survey size of 1,009 in Malaysia)
3Duggett. A. (2012). Paracetamol and Alcohol. (Available at: http://www.drugsdb.com/otc/paracetamol/paracetamol-and-alcohol/, retrieved 3 August 2017)
4Garry G. Graham, Kieran F. Scott, and Richard O. Day (2014). Alcohol and Paracetamol. Issue 1. (Available at: https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/alcohol-and-paracetamol, retrieved 3 August 2017)