Paracetamol: Why this accidentally discovered medicine is the most widely used medicine.

Publish Date:6/19/2023 5:09:46 PM

Paracetamol:Why this accidentally discovered medicine is the most widely used medicine. 

Shriniwas Jadhav

The Pharma market is flooded with different drugs around the world, but some medicines are more commonly prescribed by Doctors because of their safety profile and effectiveness. Paracetamol is widely used as an Analgesic and Antipyretic (which reduces fever). 

Paracetamol was discovered by a clinical accident. Dr. Arnold Chan and Dr. Paul Hepp mistakenly dispensed acetanilide instead of naphthalene to a patient suffering from an intestinal worm. Later it was observed that there was no effect on the intestinal worm but there was a reduction in the temperature of the patient. Then these two doctors published their papers and acetanilide was introduced as an antipyretic drug (which reduces fever).one of the major metabolite of acetanilide was paracetamol. The same results were obtained in the urine of a patient who had taken phenacetin. 

But later on, it was discovered that acetanilide was having some adverse effects and there was a need to find a less toxic derivative of acetanilide.

Later on, it was established that acetanilide was mostly metabolized to paracetamol in the human body. Acetanilide is not used as a drug but its metabolite paracetamol is widely used as an analgesic and antipyretic. 

Paracetamol is widely used as a first-line treatment for mild and moderate pain and fever treatment and is regarded as a safe drug as compared to other analgesics, however, a larger dose of paracetamol may lead to liver toxicity. 

Paracetamol is having high presence in the Indian pharma market. Medicines containing paracetamol with a combination of other analgesics are a favourite combination of many pharma companies as they are widely prescribed by many general practitioners. The major advantage of using paracetamol is that it is still considered as safest analgesic and antipyretic. Paracetamol is available in different forms such as drops, syrup, and tablets, and is easily available in the market. Paracetamol at therapeutic doses has excellent safety record as compared to other NSAIDs.