May 20, 2022

Experts to examine paracetamol risks amid concerns over rising overdoses

Consumer Healthcare Products Australia, the group that represents sellers of non-prescription medicines, said it looked forward to contributing to the experts’ report once it is published.

The group said that although paracetamol is safe and effective, “we recognize that there are many complex factors involved in intentional drug abuse, including those related to mental health, and share the deep concern of the community about it”.

The organization worked with policymakers to strengthen the safety of over-the-counter medicines, and this included conversations about introducing a two-pack limit for painkillers in general retail settings.

“If implemented, consumers purchasing over-the-counter pain relievers (paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin) at supermarkets, convenience stores and gas stations would be limited to two packs per transaction,” the group said in this masthead. .

The number of paracetamol-related hospitalizations is difficult to track in Australia, but a 2019 article published in the Medical Journal of Australia highlighted that it is the drug most commonly implicated in overdoses worldwide.

A group of Australian researchers led by Dr Rose Cairns from the University of Sydney found in the study that between 2007-2008 and 2016-2017 the number of hospital admissions linked to paracetamol poisoning increased increased by 3.8% per year – a cumulative jump of 44.3% over the decade.

The TGA expert report will be published by the regulator in July.

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After that, “a public comment period will begin before the advice of the Medicines Planning Advisory Committee is sought in the second half of 2022 on any proposed changes to the Poisons Standard relating to paracetamol,” the TGA said. .

Assistance is available from the Suicide Reminder Service on 1300 659 467, beyond the blue on 1300 22 4636 and Lifeline on 13 11 14.