Paracetamol overuse has killed more than 200 Australians in the
past decade, according to a new study published in the Medical
Journal of Australia.
The NSW Poisons Information Centre also
reports there has been a dramatic rise in people being
admitted to hospitals for paracetamol and ibuprofen poisoning and
The MJA article stated that around 70 per cent of paracetamol
overdoses involved women.
Health authorities are urging people to take the correct dosage
of these medications, regardless of whether they're prescribed or
bought off the shelf.
"Common medications like ibuprofen and paracetamol can be
effective and safe when used correctly; however, any substance
strong enough to reduce pain, swelling and fever can be harmful if
not used as directed," Toowoomba Hospital ED nurse unit manager,
Anna Goldsmith, told the Toowoomba Chronicle.
"Accidentally taking too much of these medications can happen,
but we also know some people intentionally take more than the
directed dose because they think they'll get faster relief."
Diabetes Queensland pharmacist and CDE Donna Itzstein said it's
important for people to check if their current medications include
paracetamol, such as Panadol Osteo.
"We need to know what we're taking so we don't exceed the daily
limits of safe use," Donna said. "Too much paracetamol isn't good
for your liver and too much ibuprofen affects your stomach.
"If you're unsure about the right dose, ask your
The MJA article concluded that access restrictions, including
reduced pack sizes, could reduce the harm caused by paracetamol
overdoses in Australia, and should be considered, together with
other policy changes, to curb this growing problem.