Drugs Home > What Is Intravenous Acetaminophen Used For?

Intravenous acetaminophen is approved to relieve pain and reduce fever. It works by blocking certain chemicals in the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) that cause inflammation and fever. This medication is approved for use in adults and children as young as two years old. Intravenous acetaminophen is not used for any off-label reasons at this time.

An Overview of Intravenous Acetaminophen Uses

Intravenous acetaminophen (Ofirmev™) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of pain and fever. Specifically, it is licensed for the following uses:
  • The management of mild-to-moderate pain
  • The management of moderate-to-severe pain when combined with opioid pain medications (such as morphine)
  • The reduction of fever.
This product is the first and only intravenous (IV) form of acetaminophen approved for use in the United States.
Intravenous acetaminophen is not very effective at reducing inflammation; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are more effective at treating problems that involve inflammation, such as muscle injuries. Also, intravenous acetaminophen is not the best choice for people with liver disease, such as cirrhosis or liver failure, as it may cause further liver damage.

How Does It Work?

Even though acetaminophen has been around for quite a while, it is not fully understood exactly how it works. It is known that acetaminophen works differently than other non-narcotic pain medications.
Most other non-narcotic pain relievers or fever reducers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Both NSAIDs and acetaminophen block the body's production of prostaglandins, which are naturally occurring chemicals that cause inflammation and fever.
However, while NSAIDs block prostaglandin production throughout the entire body, acetaminophen appears to do so just within the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
Acetaminophen may also work by blocking pain signals from nerves or preventing such signals from forming.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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