Let’s be real: paracetamol-based products are what the everyday Singaporean goes for when they sense themselves falling ill. In fact, the demand has seen an upward trend with the rise in Covid-19 cases, especially during the Omicron wave in the first quarter of 2022.
Paracetamol, which is offered by brands such as Panadol, Tylenol and Nuromol, has been recommended in Singapore as the default medication to take for post-vaccination aches and pains, as well as for patients recovering from Covid-19.
Dr Raymond Ong, senior doctor at Doctor Anywhere, explains: “More recently, we are seeing a local demand for paracetamol products during Covid-19 and the Omicron wave. This comes especially as home recovery is encouraged for those who had mild symptoms of the virus, and paracetamol is a helpful medicine to have at home to alleviate Covid-19 symptoms such as fever or headaches.”
So, how exactly does paracetamol work?
“Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a medicine that is well-established with few reported side effects, and can be used to reduce fever, headaches, body aches as well as general pain,” says Dr Ong. “The medicine has been available for over 70 years and is one of the most commonly used pain relievers worldwide.”
“Paracetamol is an analgesic and an antipyretic. To put it simply, it is a medication that can relieve pain and lower body temperature,” he adds.
When our body is in pain, it produces prostaglandins (chemicals that control the immune process of the body) in response to injuries and diseases. Dr Ong says that paracetamol presumably reduces prostaglandins and makes us feel less pain, thereby increasing pain tolerance.
Is there any difference between Panadol, Tylenol, Nuromol, and other paracetamol brands then?
All these brands contain the active ingredient paracetamol or acetaminophen, so theoretically, they share this basic purpose, which is to relieve pain.