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43 Percent Drop in Acetaminophen Poisoning Deaths after Reduction in Tablet Pack Size

Update Date: Feb 08, 2013 07:38 AM EST
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A reduction in pack size in the U.K. for acetaminophen tablets has decreased the number of people who died or had liver failure cases by as much as 43 percent, says a new study.

The legislation was introduced in the U.K. in September 1998, which restricted the pack to 32 tablets for prescription sales and 16 per pack for non-pharmacy sales.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration in 2011 had reduced the maximum dosage of acetaminophen in multi-ingredient products to about 325 mg per capsule, reports Medpage Today. This was done to prevent liver failure following an overdose of the drug.

In the present study, researchers tried to find if the legislation had affected the number of acetaminophen-related drug deaths in England and Wales. Acetaminophen is commonly used by people to commit suicide and the drug is also related to liver failure.

Data for the study came from the Office of National Statistics for children aged 10 and above and from U.K. Transplant (now NHS Blood and Transplant). Researchers examined the data available for drug-related poisoning between 1993 and 2009.

Study results showed that deaths due to poisoning from acetaminophen tablets dropped significantly in England and Wales. Post-legislation, there was a drop of 43 percent in the number of poisoning.

Acetaminophen poisoning is the most common in the world, says PubMed Health. The drug is safe when taken in the recommended amounts, but very dangerous if taken in large doses. Common symptoms of poisoning include abdominal pain, convulsions, nausea, etc.

The study is published in the journal bmj.                                                                            

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