Medical Q&As

Paracetamol - different name in USA?

I was in the United States recently and needed to buy paracetamol. I can't use aspirin. No one knew what I was talking about. What is the American term for paracetamol? What are some of the brand names? Why aren't common drugs given the same English name worldwide?

Your experience is not uncommon. With the advent of convenient international travel many people have discovered that many pharmaceutical products are marketed under different names in different markets. This applies not just to proprietary names but also to generics. This problem has been recognised for many decades and as far back as 1948 the BAN (British Approved Names) system was established in order to provide people with convenient generic names for increasingly complicated chemical compounds. Given the virtual explosion of new drugs on the market in recent decades the situation has become even more complicated. The reason nobody was able to help you in the USA regarding paracetamol is because they know it under the alternative generic name of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is marketed under a wide variety of proprietary names, which I will now list for you: Aceta; Aspirin-Free Pain Relief; Aspirin-Free Anacin Maximum Strength; Dapacin; Fem-Etts; Genapap; Genapap Extra Strength; Genebs; Genebs Extra Strength; Mapap Regular Strength; Mapap Extra Strength; Maranox; MedaCap; MedaTab; Panadol; Tapanol Regular Strength; Tapanol Extra Strength; Tylenol Caplets; Tylenol Tablets 325 mg; Tylenol Regular Strength; Tylenol Extra Strength.