Paracetamol is a widely used over the counter (OTC) pain reliever (analgesic) and fever reliever (antipyretic). It is also known as acetaminophen in United State, Latin America, Canada, Hong Kong and Iran. It is a common drug that nearly everyone used for treatment of headache, pain and other minor aches; it is the major component of other numerous cold and flu remedies. The paracetamol tablets are used to cure minor aches and pain related to common cold, flu, toothaches, arthritis, menstrual cramps and other conditions.
An overdose of this common drugcan cause potential fatal liver damage which will lead to liver failure and kidney failure with an end result leading to death, even in some individual, the recommended dosage can cause discomfort. Those who consume alcohol suffer most risk of paracetamol negative side effect. Paracetamol toxicity is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the western world, it account for the most drug overdoses taken in various part of the world.
The Bad Side of Paracetamol
· Untreated overdose can lead to liver failure and death within days.
· Paracetamol hepatotoxicity is the most common cause of acute liver failure- one of the most dangerous side effects of paracetamol.
· Habitual use of paracetamol leads to decrease in threshold for pain in a person. This means that the endurance level for pain reduces in that person.
· People who already face liver problems, kidney problems should not take Paracetamol tablets.
· Paracetamol should not be taken when alcohol is consumed as this increases the risk of liver toxicity.
· Blood disorders, such as thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) and leukopenia (low number of white blood cells)
· Hypotension (low blood pressure) when given in hospital by infusion (a continuous drip of medicine into a vein in your arm)
· As a precautionary measure, pregnant women and nursing mothers should consult doctor before taking Paracetamol.
· Paracetamol overdose results in more calls to poison control centers in the US than overdose of any other pharmacological substance.
· Chronic users of paracetamol may have a higher risk of developing blood cancer.
· High dose-usage (greater than 2,000 mg per day) of paracetamol increases the risk of upper gastrointestinal complications like stomach bleeding.
The Good of Side of Paracetamol
· Paracetamol is used for the relief of pains associated with many parts of the body.
· Paracetamol can relieve pain in mild arthritis but has no effect on the underlying inflammation, redness, and swelling of the joint.
· Paracetamol is approved for reducing fever in people of all ages. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that paracetamol only be used to treat fever in children if their temperature is greater than 38.5 °C (101.3 °F).
· Paracetamol has a well-established role in pediatric medicine as an effective analgesic and antipyretic.
What is the Recommended Dosage of Paracetamol?
While generally safe for use at recommended doses of 1,000 mg per single dose and up to 4,000 mg per day for adults, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended that new restrictions should be placed on paracetamol usage in the United States to help protect people from the potential toxic effects. The maximum dosage at any given time would be decreased from 1000 mg to 650 mg.
In November 2011, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency revised UK dosing of liquid paracetamol for children.
Paracetamol and Pregnancy
Until 2010 paracetamol was believed safe in pregnancy (as it does not affect the closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus as NSAIDs can). However, in a study published in October 2010 it has been linked to infertility in the adult life of the unborn.