An overdose of paracetamol can cause liver damage | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 10, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 10, 2019

An overdose of paracetamol can cause liver damage

Paracetamol is one of the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) drugs as an analgesic and antipyretic medicine. People take it under physician’s prescription or without prescription as over-the-counter (OTC) drug. But without knowing proper dose and formulation it may cause cancer, liver damage, heart failure, low blood circulation in the brain and many other problems.

The maximum dose within a 24-hour period must never be exceeded. Even taking one or two more tablets than recommended can cause serious liver damage and possibly death. An adult person can ingest maximum 4,000 mg paracetamol in 24 hours. People usually think that higher dose provides better effect, but that is totally wrong. The doses are related to age.

Adults and children over 16: The usual dose of paracetamol is 2 tablets (each tablet 500mg). Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water in empty stomach or after meal but other NSAID like aspirin, ibuprofen should not be taken at empty stomach because these may cause bleeding. Wait at least 4 hours before taking another dose. Do not take more than 4 doses in 24-hour period.

Use in children aged 10 to 15: Take one tablet every four to six hours when necessary to a maximum of four doses in 24 hours.

Use in children under 10: A 500mg tablets should not be given to children under 10 years of age.

If you take more paracetamol then you should talk to a doctor or pharmacist even if you feel well. Too much paracetamol can cause delayed, serious liver damage. If you forget to take a dose at the right time, take it as soon as you remember. However, do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.


The writer is a student of Pharmacy at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University. E-mail:

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