Paracetamol Overdose: A Leading Cause Of Liver Failure.


For decades now, scientists have known that consuming paracetamol in large quantities is toxic to the liver, but until now its mechanism of poisoning has eluded them.

Needless to say that providing insights into how an excess dose of this common pain killer causes poisoning that can be difficult to treat and can prove fatal has also eluded them as there is no publication whatsoever on this, forgetting that the new findings could also open doors to the development of new drugs for liver damage.

From Edinburgh University, Dr Leonard Nelson said: “Paracetamol is the world’s preferred pain remedy. It’s cheap and considered safe and effective at therapeutic dose.

However, liver damage that is influenced or caused by drugs remains an important clinical problem and thus a challenge for developing safer drugs.

The findings in this article reinforce the need for vigilance in the usage and administration of paracetamol, and could help discover how the harm caused by its adverse use might be prevented.

The study, which was published in Scientific Reports, examined the impact of paracetamol on liver cells in both human and mouse tissue. The experiments revealed that when placed in certain settings the drug can damage the liver by harming vital structural connections between adjacent cells in the organ.

These cell wall connections are called tight junctions and when they are disrupted the liver tissue structure is damaged, cells are unable to function properly and they may die. This type of cell damage is common in liver conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer, but it was not linked to paracetamol toxicity until 2017, and now more and more people are becoming aware of the health dangers of this popular pain killer.

A concerned citizen said “The liver doesn’t have the ability to detoxify paracetamol.” while another in the medical field overheard two professors discussing it and said that there are residues from the paracetamol that you ingested even as a baby that is stored in your liver.

A medical doctor went through a patient’s case file and had this to say: so I’ve gone through your data.
There was a little misunderstanding of what you read.

Paper actually says
Toxic levels
In 24 hours greater than 10g

In 48 hours greater than 6g per day which would sum up to 12 g

It is also important to realise that in Paracetamol dosing there is a buffer between the maximum therapeutic dose and the minimum toxic dose

Maximum therapeutic dose – not to exceed 4 grams per day.

Minimum adult toxic dose for one day is 200mg per kg average adult weight being 70kg that’s about 14g but for 10g.

If the intake is continuous then it drops to as low as 100mg/kg using 70kg average that’s 7g per day a whole 3g above the maximum therapeutic dose.

He was amazed and asked the patient a piercing question: “why did you even consume paracetamol this much in the first place?”

Dr Pierre Bagnaninchi, a Co-author said: “Although liver damage caused by paracetamol toxicity has been the subject of intense study for 40 years, recent developments in biosensor technology are enabling a fuller picture of the biological mechanisms involved.”

This popular pain killer, paracetamol is an effective treatment for mild to moderate pain and fever in both adults and children, when used as directed in product information or a physician.

The maximum dose within a 24-hour period of time must not be exceeded no matter what as Paracetamol overdose is one of the leading causes of acute liver failure and disease.

This publication should serve as an eye opener to medical practitioners and the general public. Individuals have a responsibility to acquire knowledge and stay informed on drugs being prescribed to them by doing their own study and asking the right questions.

Food and drug regulatory bodies should should take actions to safeguard the health of the citizens by putting restrictions on the sale, prescription and use of Paracetamol in healthcare facilities.
Localised research should be carefully carried out by indigenous and independent scientists and research institutions and the recommendations should be implemented.
Policy makers should be careful not to trade the health and well being of its citizens in favour of big pharmaceutical companies who are only driven by the desire to make profit

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