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December 11, 2005

New Health Warning on Paracetamol

Topics: Health Issues

There is a new health warning on the use of pain killers that use paracetamol (acetaminophen in the USA) as the base product.

It has emerged that paracetamol has become the biggest cause of liver failure in the USA due to overuse of the drug. The annual proportion of cases of liver failure due to paracetamol has risen from 28% to 51% in 2003. Consumption of 20 pills per day (maximum recommended is 8) will kill.

The report indicated that some people have used paracetamol with the intention of committing suicide via liver failure. The authors of the report recommended restrictions upon the sale of paracetamol as well as educating the public about its dangers.

Paracetamol is touted as being safe for the stomach, yet when it is abused (such as taking up to 20 tablets a day), like any other drug that is abused, it can cause death. It is also touted as a safe drug to use as a painkiller for people suffering with arthritis and who also have a propensity of developing an ulcer. There is little mention of the risk of liver failure through the use and especially the overuse of paracetamol.

Perhaps the author of the report has made recommendations that do not go far enough, for the public are being led to believe that paracetamol is safe to use. It seems that tighter restrictions upon how paracetamol is sold is necessary to prevent the continuing rise of liver failure caused by its use. This includes reviewing the sale of drugs containing paracetamol over the counter at pharmacies, and also sold in supermarkets.

Posted by at December 11, 2005 9:13 PM

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