A is for Acetaminophen

I first discovered this difference years ago when visiting my then-fiancé in Orlando. I came down sick with a bad cold and headache.

To read my drama of trying to resolve my cold, read on.
Want to get to the point? Scroll down to the summary.


I sniffle my way down the Cold & Flu aisle in Walgreens (major US pharmacy chain –  after that I got the pop culture reference in Big Bang Theory S3: E3 ‘The Gothowitz Deviation’), looking out for a paracetamol-based product, as in Aus, paracetamol is an active ingredient for several pain-killer and cold and flu products – Panadol, also available in other countries, is a big one.

I find ibuprofen products like Advil but I prefer paracetamol mixed in with a decongestant. But all I see jumping out at me in the active ingredients of the myriad of brands are Acetaminophen, Acetaminophen + this, Acetaminophen + that…

Tylenol‘ by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What is this strange, American drug? It has to be some kind of equivalent to paracetamol I figure, “Tylenol” which features Acetaminophen sounds a lot like “Panadol,” but to what extent? I have side-effects to some over-the-counter meds, so I’m wary of trying…

I connect to the free Wi-Fi and Viber msg my graduate-pharmacist-sister:

“WTH is Acetaminophen?”

She messages me back:

“Acetaminophen is Panadol. Lol.”

Ohhhh ok.

I stock up on acetaminophen-based products like Tylenol and Alka-Seltzer Plus that help me survive the rest of the visit (I was hoping Alka-Seltzer tastes like Lemsip – to me, it tastes awful! Theraflu, which I discovered on my next trip, is similar).

And I sign up for a free Walgreens rewards card, wondering why on earth my fiancé didn’t sign up years ago. Compared to the Aussie pharmacy chains at the time, their points-based system looked awesome.



  • Paracetamol = Acetaminophen
    • Panadol = Tylenol
  • Lemsip = somewhat similar taste = Theraflu
  • Ibuprofen = Ibuprofen.

Author: Jo Marie

Aussie, born and bred in Sydney. Have been living in the South Eastern US for the past 3.5 years. I relocated to Central Florida 3 years ago, then relocated to the Deep South. "But hang on, isn't Florida as deep south as you can get?" I would forgive a foreigner for thinking. Oh no... you see, as they say, "You gotta go north to get to the South." I love to travel domestically and internationally with my husband (or husband and co) whenever we have the will and the way. Have travel(l)ed to more regions and cities in the US than I have in my home country. As they say, "Never a tourist in your own country". Ok, let me stop with the cliches so you can enjoy my blog :)

2 thoughts on “A is for Acetaminophen”

  1. I didn’t know that Tylenol had the same active ingredient as Panadol. I feel like Tylenol doesn’t do anything for me. When I went back to Oz for a few weeks I bought a pack of Panadol back with me.


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