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Monday, December 14, 2015

Paracetamol for flu ! ~ pointless says New Zealand Scientists

Do you know what it is -  going by its chemical data which would read :
Formula  -  C8H9NO2
Mol. Mass  -  151.17 g/mol
Physical data
Density - 1.263 g/cm³
Melt. Point - 168 °C (334 °F) and is soluble in water.
Solubility in water : 12.78 [1] mg/mL (20 °C)

It is the one that most of us with some little knowledge consider as a panacea for all illness. In fact, in India there was a common brand called ‘Fepanil’ – which my Medical representative friend told to mean as ‘fever pain nil’  -  it is ‘Paracetamol’ – most commonly bought over the counter drug used by adults and children as best seller.   Paracetamol is also known as acetaminophen. 

Paracetamol has been in use as an analgesic for home medication for over 30 years and is perceived to be effective treatment for the relief of pain and fever in adults and children. Paracetamol is available in a tablet, capsule, liquid suspension, suppository, intravenous, and intramuscular forms. The common adult dose is 500 mg to 1000 mg. The tablets are designed to dissolve or disintegrate rapidly upon contact with saliva to eliminate trouble of digesting – this is ODT (orally disintegrating tablet) property.  Some have the habit of swallowing without taking water which is not advisable.

Paracetamol is chemically 4-hydroxyacetanilide, is a centrally and peripherally acting non-opioid analgesic and antipyretic.   Though some tend to supplement one with another, the following are some of the brand names of the same drug, manufactured and marketed by different companies in India.  They are : Calpol, Crocin,  Cetanil, Cemol, Disprin, Dolo, Febrex,  Lotemp, Thermol, Taurpol, Ultragin, Paxol,  Pacimol, Metacin  and much more…….  There are many bulk manufacturers and other product makers.  Globally, Panadol is the, GlaxoSmithKline trade name for the pharmaceutical paracetamol.  In many countries, it is marketed under various trade names which include : Crocin, Dolex, Panado, Tylenol, Acamol.

Though this is an OTC - ‘medicines are safe only when prescribed and self-medication is often dangerous’.  Always believe your Physician who is better qualified to diagnose and treat human health through study.  Leave the job to the specialists is what they say…………  now read this article in Daily Mail today : Paracetamol for flu? It's pointless, say New Zealand scientists: Popular drug neither reduces fever nor aches and pains. 

Contrary to official NHS advice, the popular drug neither reduces fever nor other symptoms like aches and pains. Paracetamol is a key ingredient in a host of cold and flu remedies. But academics found no significant difference in body temperature between 40 flu sufferers given paracetamol for five days and 40 given dummy pills. Neither was there any difference in how ill people in each group felt.

The study by New Zealand medics is the first ‘gold standard’ randomised controlled trial to pit paracetamol against a placebo pill. Dr Irene Braithwaite, of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said: ‘We initially theorised that taking paracetamol might be harmful, as the influenza virus cannot replicate as well at higher temperatures and by reducing a person’s temperature the virus may have thrived. 'Fortunately this was found not to be the case.’ Their concerns were prompted by studies in animals exposed to flu, which showed that those given paracetamol and other fever-controlling drugs were more likely to die from the virus. Dr Braithwaite said: ‘In this study, paracetamol was not harmful, but we also found that paracetamol was not beneficial either.’

Official advice on the NHS Choices website recommends people with flu take paracetamol. It states: ‘If you feel unwell and have a fever, you can take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches.’ But the study, published in the medical journal Respirology, concludes: ‘Despite recommendations to administer paracetamol for symptom relief in influenza and influenza-like illnesses, this study has found that regular administration of paracetamol has no effect on viral or clinical outcomes in this setting.’

Dr Tim Ballard, vice-chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘This is just one study – there will be many others that suggest paracetamol is a very effective drug at easing pain and controlling fevers in our patients and, as long as it is taken as recommended, this is backed up with what we find with our patients suffering from flu. ‘However, this is something to be watched with interest and it would be particularly fascinating to see a similar study looking into treating children, where the placebo effect would be more difficult to explain.’

Baffling !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

14th Dec 2015.


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