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Management of serious paracetamol poisoning


Several hundreds of people die from paracetamol overdose each year, many perhaps unnecessarily.1 Serious poisoning usually follows acute overdose but can also occur in patients with severe pain taking large doses (over 10g/day) on consecutive days. A single dose of as little as 10g can cause hepatic or renal failure. The outcome is determined by the amount taken and, more importantly, by whether the patient comes to hospital in time for treatment to be effective.2 Chronic alcohol abuse,3 malnutrition, or taking enzyme-inducing drugs increases the risk of liver damage.4,5

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