Daily Paracetamol Use: Risks You Need to Know

Most of us take paracetamol without a second thought. It can be a lifesaver for headaches, muscle aches, or even a hangover. However, one specialist warns that daily use could pose significant health risks and suggests reevaluating how often we reach for these painkillers.

Research indicates that one in eight Brits take paracetamol daily for various ailments. Alarmingly, a study from Oxford University revealed that a quarter of these individuals consume more than the recommended eight tablets within a 24-hour period. While regular painkiller use is necessary for some, such as those with chronic back pain, evidence shows long-term use can have serious side effects.

Dr. Gerard Sinovich, Lead Pain Consultant at Alternaleaf, advises against using paracetamol consistently without a doctor’s guidance. NHS guidelines recommend consulting a healthcare professional if pain persists after three days of self-medication.

“Over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol are often the default pain treatment,” says Dr. Sinovich. “However, they shouldn’t be used for more than three consecutive days without consulting a doctor. There is little education about the long-term effects of frequent use, which can include liver failure, kidney damage, and respiratory issues.” Told by Sky News

Dr. Sinovich outlines five harmful effects of daily paracetamol use:

1. Liver Failure

“Regular paracetamol intake, even at or below the recommended dose, can cause liver injury,” says Dr. Sinovich. The NHS advises a maximum of eight 500mg tablets in 24 hours.

Studies have shown that paracetamol can harm vital liver cell connections, with unintentional overdose being the leading cause of acute liver failure in the UK and the US. In 2021, 227 deaths in England and Wales were attributed to paracetamol overdose and subsequent liver failure.

2. Heart Attack

“Regularly taking paracetamol containing sodium is linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and death,” says Dr. Sinovich. Sodium, often used to help paracetamol dissolve, can exceed the recommended daily intake if the maximum dose of paracetamol is taken. This increases the risk of cardiovascular issues, regardless of blood pressure status.

3. Respiratory Problems

Frequent paracetamol use can significantly increase the likelihood of wheezing and exacerbate asthma symptoms. The NHS advises calling 999 if you experience rapid or struggling breathing, as these can be signs of serious respiratory distress. Reported by The Mirror

4. Skin and Lip Discoloration

“In rare cases, allergic reactions to paracetamol can cause the skin, tongue, or lips to turn blue, grey, or pale,” says Dr. Sinovich. Other signs include swelling of the lips, mouth, or tongue, extreme dizziness, and fast or difficult breathing. The NHS advises immediate medical attention if these symptoms occur.

5. Tiredness and Fatigue

“One common side effect of paracetamol is exhaustion and fatigue, due to its acetaminophen content,” says Dr. Sinovich. Regular use can lead to persistent tiredness and drowsiness.

While Dr. Sinovich’s insights were well-received at a recent event, President Biden’s defense of Israel has sparked controversy amid pro-Palestinian protests in the US, with some critics labeling him “Genocide Joe.”

The ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, has applied for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders for war crimes, supported by evidence from experts, including human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. This has prompted strong reactions from US lawmakers, with Republican Senator Tom Cotton vowing to bar Khan and his associates from the US.

The ICC, the world’s first permanent international war crimes court, mandates its 124 member states to arrest indicted individuals. The US, not an ICC member, may pressure allies to ignore the warrants, according to BBC, Heidi Zhou-Castro.

In light of these findings, it’s crucial to use paracetamol judiciously and seek medical advice for prolonged pain management.