7 Side Effects of Paracetamol (What You Need to Know)

Paracetamol, alternatively recognized as acetaminophen, stands as among the most frequently employed over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers worldwide. Despite its general acceptance as safe when utilized as instructed, similar to any medication, it harbors the potential for side effects. Within this article, we shall delve into seven side effects associated with paracetamol that individuals should be mindful of to ensure the safe and effective utilization of this medication.

Liver Damage

Liver damage stands out as one of the most severe side effects linked to paracetamol, manifesting through overdose or extended usage surpassing recommended doses. Paracetamol undergoes metabolism within the liver, and excessive quantities can inundate the organ’s detoxification processes, culminating in liver toxicity. Such an occurrence can yield grave consequences, including severe liver impairment, liver failure, and potentially fatal outcomes if not swiftly addressed.

Allergic Reactions

While relatively rare, certain individuals might encounter allergic reactions to paracetamol. Signs of such a reaction could encompass a rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, and breathing difficulties. It’s crucial for anyone experiencing these symptoms subsequent to paracetamol consumption to promptly seek medical assistance.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Paracetamol has the potential to cause irritation to the stomach and intestinal lining, resulting in gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Additionally, prolonged paracetamol use may heighten the likelihood of gastrointestinal bleeding or ulcers, especially when combined with other medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Kidney Damage

Though less frequent than liver damage, kidney damage is another possible adverse effect of paracetamol, particularly with prolonged use or overdose. Paracetamol and its byproducts can gather in the kidneys, causing kidney toxicity and hindering kidney function. Individuals with existing kidney issues face a higher risk and should approach paracetamol use cautiously, ideally under medical supervision.

Blood Disorders

Extended or excessive intake of paracetamol has been linked to specific blood conditions, such as thrombocytopenia (reduced platelet count) and leukopenia (reduced white blood cell count). Such disorders heighten susceptibility to bleeding, infection, and other complications. Therefore, it’s vital to exercise caution with paracetamol usage and adhere to prescribed dosage instructions.

Skin Reactions

Paracetamol can rarely trigger skin reactions like Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). These are serious and potentially fatal conditions marked by the separation of the skin and mucous membranes. If someone develops symptoms like skin rash, blistering, or peeling following paracetamol ingestion, urgent medical attention is necessary.

Cardiovascular Effects

Recent research has hinted at a possible connection between prolonged paracetamol use and a heightened risk of cardiovascular incidents like heart attacks and strokes. While further investigation is necessary to confirm this correlation, individuals with a history of heart conditions or strokes should exercise caution when using paracetamol and discuss any apprehensions with their healthcare provider.

Although paracetamol is generally deemed safe when used appropriately, it can induce side effects, especially with misapplication or excessive usage. It’s crucial to recognize these potential adverse effects and employ paracetamol responsibly. Always adhere to the recommended dosage, refrain from surpassing the maximum daily limit, and seek guidance from a medical professional if any concerns arise or if you encounter unfavorable reactions. By exercising prudence in paracetamol usage and remaining vigilant regarding its potential side effects, you can effectively manage pain and fever while mitigating the risk of complications.