Can You Take Painkillers Before The COVID-19 Vaccine? A M'sian Pharmacist Weighs In

"Do we have to take Panadol? Do we take it before or after the vaccine?"

Cover image via Reuters/The Straits Times & Makati Medical Centre

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A registered pharmacist in Malaysia has dispensed some advice about when is the right time to take paracetamol — before or after — the COVID-19 vaccine

As with all vaccines, it is common for people to experience mild side effects such as fever and muscle ache for a few days after the shot, and it also understandable to want to take a painkiller to relieve the discomfort.

"Do we have to take Panadol? Do we take it before or after the vaccine?" asked Amir Said on Twitter, echoing the questions the public have online surrounding COVID-19 vaccination.

To put them to rest, the pharmacist from the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it is not recommended to take painkillers before the vaccine

He said the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not recommended taking a painkiller as prophylaxis (preventive treatment) to prevent vaccine-related side effects.

This is because it is not known how over-the-counter pain medications — such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin — may affect how well the vaccine works.

"So, the safer way is to only take Panadol after getting the vaccine if you have fever or body aches. If you don't [experience these], don't take Panadol either," advised Amir.

Amir also told SAYS that it is okay to take other painkillers after the vaccine, especially if a person has an allergy to paracetamol.

Image via eMedicineHealth

To be on the safe side, he even explained the differences between the types of Panadol available in the Malaysian market

Most notably, he explained that Panadol Actifast, Panadol Soluble, and Panadol Extra are not recommended for people with high blood pressure because Actifast and Soluble contains added sodium, while Extra contains caffeine, which may elevate blood pressure.

"The function of sodium is to accelerate the absorption of paracetamol at the small intestine. So we can feel the effects faster... But they are less suitable for hypertensive patients," he said.

The pharmacist also wanted to remind everyone that the maximum dose for paracetamol is 4000mg a day, which is eight tablets.

Read Amir's full thread here:

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