Parents, Know the Facts! – Paracetamol
PARACETAMOL, ALSO KNOWN AS ACETAMINOPHEN, IS A MEDICATION USED TO TREAT FEVER AND MILD TO MODERATE PAIN.
Paracetamol is a pharmaceutical drug, which is used to treat a number of conditions including: Mild pain, fever, strong pain (when combined with codeine), colds and flu (when combined with antihistamines and decongestants). Some people use paracetamol by intentionally taking more than the recommended dose, or as an act of self-harm.
Forms of paracetamol: tablets, capsules, suppositories, soluble powders, liquids.
PARACETAMOL AFFECTS EVERYONE DIFFERENTLY, BASED ON:
Size, weight and health, whether the individual is used to consuming it, whether other substances are consumed around the same time, the amount consumed.
SIDE EFFECTS OF PARACETAMOL
There is no safe level of substance use/misuse. Use/misuse of any substance always carries some risk – even medications can produce unwanted side effects. The following effects may be experienced:
Fever, nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weakness, sweating, confusion, an allergic reaction, which can cause a rash and swelling.
There may be no symptoms for the first day. A feeling of sickness (nausea) and being sick (vomiting) may occur a few hours after consuming the overdose. After 24 hours there may be pain under the ribs on the right side (where the liver is) and there may be yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the skin (jaundice). Other features include:
The brain can also be affected with confusion and disorientation (called encephalopathy); the kidneys can also be affected with a reduction in urine, and kidney failure can occur; low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) may occur; there may be a build-up of acid in the blood, which can cause the patient to breathe faster; there may also be features of depression but not always.
LONG TERM EFFECTS
Tiredness, breathlessness, bluish tinge to fingers and lips, anaemia (low red blood cell count), liver and kidney damage, flushing, low blood pressure and a fast heartbeat, blood disorders, such as thrombocytopenia (low number of platelet cells) and leukopenia (low number of white blood cells).