What Are the Different Types of Paracetamol Tablets?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Paracetamol, or acetaminophen, tablets have varying strengths, are available in adult and child forms, and may dissolve in different ways. This medication is frequently sold over the counter under generic or brand names, and may come in extended or standard release varieties. Additionally, some paracetamol tablets contain other active ingredients, like prescription pain relievers or caffeine. Alone or in combination, the drug is also available in many other forms, like capsules and elixirs.

Paracetamol tablets are available in child-appropriate sizes.
Paracetamol tablets are available in child-appropriate sizes.

For over-the-counter pure paracetamol tablets, adult strengths are likely to be divided into regular, or 325 milligram (mg), pills and extra strength, which is ordinarily 500 mg. Extended release types of the drug may have a higher strength pill, and instructions must be carefully followed to avoid exceeding a safe maximum dose. Pediatric tablets may vary in their strength and are based on the age group for which they’re intended. Typically, chewable or dissolving tablets for young children and youths are 80-160 mg.

The generic version of paracetamol is known as acetaminophen.
The generic version of paracetamol is known as acetaminophen.

Most adults find it easier to swallow tablets, instead of chewing them or letting them dissolve in the mouth. Still, some companies may market chewables or easy-dissolve tablets in adult strengths. It’s certainly not cost-effective for adults to use children or youth paracetamol tablets because they would need to take many tablets to get an appropriate dose.

Young children suffering from pain may take paracetamol in liquid form.
Young children suffering from pain may take paracetamol in liquid form.

There are many medications that are mixed with acetaminophen. Some combination over-the-counter paracetamol tablets are stronger pain relievers and may contain aspirin and caffeine. A few cough, cold, or sinus relief formulas also include this drug to lower fevers or target pain associated with these conditions.

Paracetamol is often added to other medicines to ease sinus discomfort.
Paracetamol is often added to other medicines to ease sinus discomfort.

Prescription pain relievers are frequently paired with paracetamol. Drugs like tramadol, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine may contain it, and it is usually added in 325 mg or 500 mg strengths. Since extra amounts of paracetamol can cause liver damage, it’s very important that people follow dosing directions for these medicines. Patients should never take two separate medications containing acetaminophen together, unless they are directed by a physician to do so.

While paracetamol tablets are common forms of the medication, they’re not always preferred. Young children or adults who have difficulty swallowing tablets or pills may use liquids or elixirs, instead. Capsules or caplets can sometimes be preferred to tablets. Alternately, a quick dissolving form of the drug might be a small transparent sheet instead of a pill. Suppositories with paracetamol may also be a better choice if it is difficult to take any oral form of the medication.

A pregnant woman should always consult her physician before taking paracetamol or any over the counter (OTC) pain relievers.
A pregnant woman should always consult her physician before taking paracetamol or any over the counter (OTC) pain relievers.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

discographer
Pediatric paracetamol tablets are great. My daughter takes them without fuss! She says they taste good.
burcinc

@burcidi-- Yes, paracetamol gel caps are available, just check your pharmacy.

If anyone has trouble swallowing, it's available in liquid form as well. When I had my tonsils removed, I couldn't swallow any tablets or capsules so I was taking liquid paracetamol. There is a children's version of the liquid, as well as an adult version.

burcidi

Is paracetamol available as a gel capsule?

I try to take medications in this form if possible because it's effective for a longer period of time and it's more gentle on my stomach than tablets.

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