Can I take paracetamol if I'm on antibiotics?

Sometimes, an infection may cause you pain and discomfort. Although antibiotics will help to clear your infection, they will rarely provide you with any pain relief. You may therefore want to take some kind of painkilling medication (analgesic) to help relieve your symptoms.

Paracetamol is one of the safest painkillers, and rarely causes side effects. It is safe to use paracetamol at the same time as taking antibiotics. Taking the two medicines at the same time should not cause any problems.

However, you must make sure that you carefully follow the dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer for both your antibiotics and the paracetamol. If you're still in significant pain after taking paracetamol, contact your GP.

The only antibiotic which is an exception to this rule is isoniazid. This antibiotic is used to treat tuberculosis (an infection which primarily affects the lungs). A small number of reports suggest that taking this antibiotic with paracetamol may increase the risk of liver damage. You should always consult your GP before taking paracetamol with this antibiotic. Children should never be given paracetamol whilst being treated with isoniazid.

Children who are under 16 years of age should not take aspirin.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 01/05/2013

Next review due: 30/04/2015