New research published in The Medical Journal of Australia has found that paracetamol is now the top cause of liver failure in Australia ahead of alcohol and hepatitis. Parents have been warned only to give the drug for high fever or severe pain.
People who take certain medications, drink large amounts of alcohol or have kidney, heart or lung problems are particularly at risk of a toxic accumulation. "…Paracetamol poisoning should be suspected in any patient with acute liver failure."
"Clinicians should be cautious about prescribing regular doses of paracetamol for pain control in malnourished or fasting patients, and need to counsel patients who are regular users of the drug," the report said.