Can you take paracetamol with antibiotics?

WHEN prescribed antibiotics it can often be difficult to know what other painkillers you can use.

Paracetamol is one of the most widely used and safest pain killers around but there are often mixed messages as to whether you can use it alongside antibiotics.

Is taking paracetamol with antibiotics safe?

The short answer is yes.

Antibiotics are used to help clear infections but often don't do anything to relieve pain.

Therefore you can choose to take painkilling medication alongside your antibiotics

The NHS says taking paracetamol and antibiotics at the same time "shouldn't cause any problems".

If you are worried about combining the two or start to have issues after taking paracetamol you are encouraged to contact your doctor or GP.

What medications should you not take paracetamol with?

There are two antibiotics that can't be used at the same time as paracetamol.

These are isoniazid and rifampicin, two antibiotics used to treat people with tuberculosis.

According to a small number of reports, taking isoniazid with paracetamol may increase the risk of liver damage.

While a case report has indicated that using paracetamol in conjunction with rifampicin may also increase the risk of liver damage.

How many paracetamol am I allowed to take in a day?

The most common dose for adults is one or two 500mg tablets up to 4 times in a 24 hour period.

Paracetamol can be taken with or without food but you are always advised to leave at least 4 hours between doses.

Paracetamol can take up to an hour to work so it is important not to take more if you can't feel the effects straight away.

For children, the strength and dosage required depends on their age so always read the instructions carefully so you know what to give your child.

Most people can use paracetamol safely but the NHS has said that you should check with your doctor or pharmacist first if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to paracetamol or any other medicines in the past
  • have liver or kidney problems
  • regularly drink more than the maximum recommended amount of alcohol (14 units a week)
  • take medicine for epilepsy
  • take medicine for tuberculosis (TB)
  • take the blood-thinner warfarin and you may need to take paracetamol on a regular basis

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