May 20, 2022

A warning for Filipinos amid spike in demand

A Filipino holding a paracetamol blister. (The STAR/Ernie Penaredondo)

“Paracetamol does not treat the cause of the fever.”

A doctor from the Philippine General Hospital issued this warning to the public amid the recent surge in demand for fever medication paracetamol in pharmacy.

Olivia Camille Reyes, pediatric emergency consultant at PGH, warned that paracetamol can cause liver toxicity and even death when consumed in large amounts.

His message was shared on the official PGH Facebook page.

“Paracetamol does not treat the cause of the fever. Although it is an OTC (over-the-counter) formulation, it is one of the most abused and overused drugs that frequently ranks among the leading causes of drug overdose,” Reyes said.

“When consumed in large amounts, it has the potential to cause liver toxicity and even death,” she added.

There are certain conditions or symptoms for which paracetamol is intended to be used.

“It should only be used to treat pain or fever causing extra discomfort and tension in very sick people. Even then, paracetamol should be used with caution,” she said.

It is also not intended to prevent fever. She advised that a doctor should be consulted immediately if the conditions worsen.

“It is safe to give a dose or two as FIRST AID as directed in the PRODUCT insert (especially for children), but please consult your doctor afterwards. If taken for FEVER, INVESTIGATION of the CAUSE, as well as ASSESSMENT of the SEVERITY OF THE DISEASE MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE,” the doctor said.

A Reddit user posted a meme that showed the dominant trends during the pandemic years from 2020.

The user suggested that Biogesic, a brand of paracetamol, is the trend in the Philippines in 2022, after dalgona coffee and air fryer which became the “in” things in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Some Filipinos have previously reported that some pharmacies are reporting stock shortages of brands of Biogesic, Neozep and Decolgen and other pain relievers.

LILY: Paracetamol supplies “out of stock” in pharmacies? DOH and DTI deny a reported shortage

UNILABthe largest pharmaceutical company in the country, has informed the public that some of their in-store products are out of stock.

“This is to inform the public that some of our brands are temporarily out of stock at some pharmacies due to extraordinary demand. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused”, UNILAB mentioned.

the health department and the ministry of trade and industryhowever, claimed that there was enough stock of paracetamol, especially generic brands, in the market.