Paracetamol some facts and figures.

Carol PlumridgeUseful information


Always check with a health care professional before taking medication.

Some sobering facts about paracetamol.

Paracetamol is not an anti inflammatory medication, its mode of action is unclear but it seems to have a comforting effect on people.

There is very little difference in results when taking either paracetamol or anti-inflammatory drugs when you have low backache or osteoarthritis.

Patient compliance in taking medication properly is about 20-30%.

  • Staggered overdose: People take paracetamol pre drinking to help counteract the hangover, sometimes then taking another dose after the drinking session. Alcohol can block paracetamol breakdown, which can lead to an accidental overdose.
  • 66% drug deaths excluding alcohol are due to paracetamol; there is an 8-hour window for treatment after an overdose.
  • Paracetamol hyper toxicity commonest cause of acute liver failure.
  • Reducing the packet size to less than 32 paracetamol has resulted in a 34% drop in paracetamol overdose.
  • Deaths from paracetamol poisoning reduced by 21% and aspirin by 48%.
  • Liver transplant rates reduced by 66%
  • Paracetamol induced headaches with chronic use of paracetamol can persist for many months after withdrawal and may be irreversible.

Optimising paracetamol:

It has a similar painkilling strength to anti-inflammatory medication.

It is rarely harmful if taken within the correct dose range.

Paracetamol is good for acute soft tissue injuries.

Always check with a health care professional before taking medication.

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