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Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen or APAP, is a medication used to treat pain and fever. It is typically used for mild to moderate pain. Evidence of benefit in fever for children is poor. It is often sold in combination with other ingredients such as in many cold medications. In combination with pain medication, paracetamol is used for more severe pain such as cancer pain and after surgery. It is typically used either by mouth or rectally but is also available intravenously. Effects last between two and four hours.
Paracetamol is generally safe at recommended doses. Serious skin rashes may rarely occur. Too high a dose can result in liver failure. It appears to be safe during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. In those with liver disease, it may still be used but lower doses should be taken. Paracetamol is classified as a mild analgesic. It does not have significant anti-inflammatory activity and how it works is not entirely clear.