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Paracetamol warning – Arthritis Australia’s response

Paracetamol, the most Common Household Medicine is Poisoning 150 Australians per Week

It’s the most common painkiller in every medicine cupboard but paracetamol is poisoning 8,000 Aussies a year.

More than 150 patients a week are hospitalised as a result of paracetamol poisoning and experts say the problem is on the rise.

A new study has found paracetamol is now responsible for one in five deliberate poisoning cases that present to hospital emergency departments around Australia. read more

Arthritis Australia’s Response to Media Coverage about Paracetamol

Paracetamol is the most frequently used analgesic for the relief of pain in people with arthritis. Taken in advised doses paracetamol is relatively safe medication.

However, recent studies highlight that – despite common perceptions, paracetamol has little or no side effects – taken in excess, there is real concern for toxicity, especially affecting the liver. These concerns echo similar concerns raised by the main regulatory body in the US, the Food and Drug Authority (FDA), who have recommended a maximal daily dose of 3.2gm as opposed to the 4gm commonly recommended.

Part of the challenge is that paracetamol is frequently in cold and flu remedies that people may take in addition to their regular analgesia, and therefore, accidental over-dosage is not unusual. These concerns over toxicity have been compounded by studies of paracetamol that suggest modest efficacy in the relief of pain and to the extent that it is no longer recommended as first-line medication management for the relief of osteoarthritis pain (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24462672

There are many other options for the management of osteoarthritis pain; call The Arthritis Helpline on 1800 011 041.


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