How does paracetamol work?

Paracetamol is thought to work in various ways to affect certain signals in the brain that trigger pain or fever. Like all pain relievers, paracetamol may cause harm if your child has too much, so remember to keep it out of reach of your little one. Always read the labels carefully and talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of the amount of medicine to give your child.

When can paracetamol be used in children?

Paracetamol for children can be purchased in supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores without a prescription, and is commonly used to provide relief of fever and pain such as: 

• Headaches 
• Earache 
• Stomachache 
• Cold symptoms

Check with your doctor or pharmacists before giving your child paracetamol if they:
- are small for their age
- have had liver or kidney problems
- take medicine for epilepsy
- take medicine for tuberculosis
- take warfarin

What is the difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen?

Either paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used for pain and fever, they are both effective painkillers but they work in different ways. Paracetamol is thought to work by blocking the pain messengers in the brain. Ibuprofen blocks the pain messengers at the site of pain.

Nurofen for children contains ibuprofen which has anti-inflammatory properties.

If your child is experiencing pain or fever, either paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used, but not at the same time. If you have any questions or queries about how either painkiller works, or the difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor.

Remember to always read the label and follow the instructions carefully for any medicine. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health matters for further information or medical advice, please speak to your GP or a Pharmacist.