Does paracetamol damage your liver?


I know paracetamol is one of the most popular drugs out there. Many have used it this morning already. There’s this WRONG perception that paracetamol is very safe. Well, it is not as safe as we thought.

The daily maximum dose currently is 4g which is 8 tablets. But I’ve seen people who use more and this is dangerous.
About 20% of paracetamol used is processed in the intestinal walls while the remaining is processed in the liver.

Part of the product of paracetamol in the liver is little amount of a toxic compound called n-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine or NAPQI for short. This toxic NAPQI is quickly detoxified by a substance called glutathione.

Does paracetamol damage your liver?
Does paracetamol damage your liver? Yes…

When paracetamol is taken in overdose or even the right dose is taken too regularly, the rate of use of glutathione in the body may be less than the rate of production. If glutathione is used up and excess NAPQI isn’t removed, NAPQI can then build up and cause irreversible damage to the liver. Just few days of paracetamol overdose is enough to damage the liver.

I read that the United States FDA has even reduced the amount of paracetamol per tablet from 500mg to 325mg just to stay safe from overdosing on the drugs. Many countries, including Nigeria still use 500mg though.

Continuous use of paracetamol can also cause intestinal bleeding. It was thought that only NSAID like Ibuprofen have this effect before. However, in 2011, Professor Michael Doherty, a rheumatologist at Nottingham University, conducted a study involving nearly 900 patients aged 40 and above suffering from chronic knee pain. The study analyzed the effects of paracetamol, ibuprofen, or a combination of both over a period of 13 weeks.

The results were unexpected: a significant proportion of participants, comparable to those taking ibuprofen, experienced internal bleeding, despite being on paracetamol.

Other researches have shown that long term use of paracetamol can affect liver function test and liver enzymes. Also, paracetamol is not safe for persons with liver cirrhosis.

Paracetamol can however, not cause fatty liver disease contrary to some beliefs.

There are many other studies on different negative effects of acetaminophen on kidney, heart and so on. But this does not mean paracetamol is a bad drug. So, read the following recommendations..

1. Only use paracetamol when it is very NECESSARY

2. Do not take more than 2 tablets at a time. You can take another set in the next 8 hours

3. Don’t use alcohol to take paracetamol. Detoxifying ethanol in your gins and beer needs glutathione. Paracetamol also need glutathione. If glutathione is used up, NAPQI is retained in the liver… problem!

4. Know that paracetamol isn’t something one just takes at the slightest incidence of pain or aches. Most headaches are due to dehydration sef. All people need is to drink water and wait a while. But because they drink water while taking drugs, they feel it is the paracetamol that worked.

5. You don’t need paracetamol like you think you do. The excessive trust some people have in paracetamol is making them use it at will. The placebo effect makes them think paracetamol is helping but that’s not the case. Reprogram your mind. You don’t need to take paracetamol every time you come from work.

6. You slept on the floor because if the heat and now you woke up with body pains? Try and take your bath and move around first. The pain will go. You don’t need to take paracetamol for it.

7. When taking paracetamol with other drugs, check them out to see whether they have paracetamol too. It may help you prevent overdosing. If you have catarrh and headache for example and you take Procold and Paracetamol, you probably will slightly overdose as Procold contains paracetamol too.

8. Whenever you eat at a canteen and the meat is very soft, stylishly ask them what they used. I have learnt that some of them use paracetamol to boil meat. Wàhálà!

Finally, all I’ve written here is general. Individuals may have different scenarios and conditions. So, I know what I wrote here isn’t all encompassing. Please share this article, it could prevent someone from damaging their liver.




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