Paracetamol poisoning on the rise in Sweden

Paracetamol poisoning on the rise in Sweden
Two of the best selling painkillers in Sweden, Alvedon and Pandoil, which both contain paracetamol. Photo: TT
Cases of paracetamol poisoning have almost doubled in the last four years with experts saying the easy access to the painkiller has contributed to the increase.

A study carried out by the Swedish Poisons Information Centre (Giftinformationscentralen) revealed that the amount of cases of paracetamol poisoning had reached 1161 last year reports the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. 

That figure contrasts with the 621 cases reported in 2009 which coincided with the government's decision to allow the painkiller to be stocked in supermarkets and convenience stores.

Paracetamol, which is found in painkillers Alvedon and Panodil, could previously only be bought over the counter in pharmacies.

"It is far too many (cases) and has been going for too long," said Mark Personne who is the senior physician with the Swedish Poisons Information Centre to the newspaper.

He added to the TT news agency; "We believe that the information campaigns around paracetamol and the dosing are insufficient. We need other measures to resolve this problem."

Prolonged usage of paracetamol can cause liver damage and in some cases it can be life threatening.

A recent study by researchers at Uppsala University revealed that paracetamol can interfere with the brain development of children, and can even be dangerous for the unborn children of pregnant women.

Following the findings the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) have said they will conduct a thorough review as to why paracetamol poisoning has increased so much.

Indeed, a removal altogether of supermarkets has been mooted in order to combat the rise.

"That's a possible scenario, yes," Anders Carlsten of the Swedish Medical Products Agency told the TT news agency.

The medical experts also urged people to take personal responsibility when taking paracetamol and to be aware of the dangers of overdosing.  

The Local/pr

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