December 9, 2022

Lemsip: British mother dies after accidental overdose of paracetamol and cold medicine

A mother in the UK has died of liver failure after accidentally taking an overdose of the joint drug Lemsip which she was taking to recover from a cold.

Lemsip, widely available in Australia, is a sachet of medicinal drink, which among other things contains paracetamol to relieve the symptoms of flu and colds.

Joan Ita Bergin, 58, had a cough and bad chest for around a week in December last year and had been drinking sachets of Lemsip to manage the symptoms, The Sun reported.

58-year-old son Matthew called an ambulance on Christmas Day, after his mother’s condition deteriorated, and she was taken to Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire, north west England.

Ms Bergin, from Lostock Hall, just south of Preston, had vomited coffee-coloured bile and tests revealed she had “significantly elevated” liver enzymes and low oxygen levels.

She was eventually transferred to the intensive care unit, but her condition worsened and she was diagnosed with liver failure.

Liver specialists at Leeds General Infirmary in Yorkshire were consulted and advised that no further treatment options were available.

Ms Bergin continued to deteriorate and she died on January 7 of this year.

The Preston Coroner’s Court inquest found Ms Bergin drank a sachet of Lemsip every four hours – but also told doctors she had sometimes taken more than the recommended amount of paracetamol.

The maximum recommended dose of Lemsip is one sachet containing 1000 mg paracetamol every four to six hours.

On behalf of her son, Deputy Coroner Kate Bisset said: ‘He says his mother was normally healthy but rarely ate much, one full meal a week, and otherwise snacked on things like marmalade on toasted bread.

“She drank a lot of water but sometimes fainted from lack of food.”

Consultant Patrick Horgan said in a statement that Ms Bergin had significantly elevated liver enzymes and had been diagnosed with liver damage due to an unintentional overdose of paracetamol.

She was given Parvolex, an antidote to an overdose of paracetamol, but continued to have episodes of vomiting blood.

On January 4, Dr. Liam Morris noted worsening liver enzymes and diagnosed Ms. Bergin with acute liver failure. She died three days later.

The cause of death was multiple organ failure, pneumonia and acute liver failure secondary to an unintentional paracetamol overdose.

Contributing factors have been cited as alcohol-related liver disease and esophageal ulceration.

The inquest also heard Ms Bergin had a history of excessive drinking.

Returning a finding of misadventure, which is where a death is caused by the unintended consequences of an intentional act, the coroner said: ‘Joan Ita Bergin died on 7 January 2022 at the Royal Preston Hospital of multi-organ failure caused by an unintentional accident. paracetamol overdose.

An overdose of paracetamol – which is a component of Lemsip – is dangerous and capable of causing severe liver and kidney damage.

And experts also say that Lemsip cold and flu should also not be used during pregnancy.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.