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A new discovery about Acetaminophen

According to a new enzyme which is discovered, may interpret the reasons for acetaminophen acting differently from other painkillers. //Acetaminophen (paracetamol in the UK) is known to relieve pain and fever, but not inflammation. Whereas aspirin and ibuprofen tackle inflammation too and are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs). These drugs are known to block two enzymes - cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2. It is COX-2 which generates pain signals, but COX-1 helps produce the protective mucus that lines the stomach. Inhibition of COX-1 leads to the sometimes serious side effects of NSAIDs like stomach irritation and bleeding.

Researchers at Brigham University in the US have now discovered a new COX enzyme, COX-3, which appears to be the target of acetaminophen. This explains why the drug is a good painkiller, even though it has very little effect on COX-1 or COX-2. The study may help scientists discover even more useful painkillers in the future. Acetaminophen is useful for people who can't take standard NSAIDs and is, in general, very safe.


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