Title Paracetamol poisoning on the rise, TGA considers limiting how much people can buy Degree of recognition National Media name/outlet ABC News Media type Web Country/Territory Australia Date 14/10/22 Description Key points:
Australia's medicines regulator is considering restricting who can buy paracetamol and how much
A report revealed there were 8,700 paracetamol poisonings in 2019-20, with a sharp rise among females
Young people aged 10-24 accounted for almost half of hospital admissions for intentionally misusing the common drug
Dramatic reduction in harm linked to reduced availability
Between 2019-2020, there were more than 8,700 paracetamol poisonings.
Most hospital admissions were due to intentional poisoning and young people between 10-24 years accounted for almost half...
Paracetamol poisoning can lead to liver damage and the need for a transplant, and even death. "Evidence from the UK showed a dramatic reduction in the need for liver transplants and deaths from paracetamol overdose when they restricted the amount of paracetamol that was available in packets," said Gold Coast GP Professor Mark Morgan, also with the Royal Australian College of GPs.
"Overall restricting access to paracetamol would reduce deaths and harms from overdose. We don't know to what extent, but evidence from overseas shows it could be as high as a 50 per cent reduction."
But Professor Morgan added it is a balancing act and there is a need for most people to be able to access short amounts of paracetamol easily for short-term health issues like headaches and flu-like illnesses.
He said the most important recommendation suggested is to make modified release paracetamol prescription only. It's harder to treat poisoning from this type of drug.
"Although deaths from paracetamol are quite rare, it's absolutely devastating when it happens," Professor Morgan said. "It's a really significant cause of intentional self-harm and it's devastating because people are not aware of the liver damage being done and the need for hospital care immediately after an overdose."
Producer/Author Sarah Sedghi Persons Mark Morgan