How Much Paracetamol Is Fatal?

Paracetamol is a commonly used medication that can be bought over-the-counter to treat a number of ailments, including headaches, fever and minor pains. Known also as acetaminophen, Paracetamol is a chief ingredient in many over-the-counter cold and flu medications. As with any medication, there are precautions to the consumption of Paracetamol, especially when you consider the fact that overdosing may lead to your untimely demise.

How Many Paracetamol Will Kill You?

If you closely follow the manufacturer's instructions included with the medication, there is little to no chance of an overdose, yet alone a fatal one.

24g of Paracetamol is generally accepted to be a fatal dose. The lowest amount of Paracetamol to cause death was found by one study to be 10g. As for Paracetamol of 500mg per tablet, it is generally recommended to take no more than 8 tablets (500mg) within 24 hours, and 24 to 30 tablets taken at one time can lead to overdose or even death.

Not sufficient time between doses or high amount of tablets taken at one time may lead to a fatal overdose.Side effects of an overdose may be seen after ingesting around 4-6g, although this is dependent upon an individual's physiological make-up and metabolism.

Side Effects of Paracetamol Overdose

One thing to point out is that side effects of paracetamol overdose will not present until 24 hours after the overdose. Yet, you may still experience nausea and vomiting immediately afterdue to your body attempting to reject the mediation. If the high amount of Paracetamol is ingested, then the liver may begin to deteriorate, which can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin), confusion, and fainting/loss of consciousness. In most instances of death by Paracetamol overdose, liver failure is the primary cause. In cases of sever poisoning, the following may also occur:

  • Encephalopathy (abnormal brain function)
  • Hemorrhage (bleeding)
  • Hypoglycemia (low level of blood sugar)
  • Cerebral edema
  • Glucose metabolism abnormalities
  • Hematuria (the presence of blood or blood cells in the urine)
  • Proteinuria (the presence of excess protein in the urine)
  • Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat rhythm)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)

Here is the experience from a person named Kerry who was trying to take too much Paracetamol:

"During a very low time of my life, about 4 years ago, I tried to overdose on over-the-counter medication. I did no research into how many Paracetamol will kill you, but I ingested about twenty paracetamol, mixed with loads of ephedrine tablets (about 30 or more). I felt fine at first, but then began to feel extremely dizzy, after about an hour or so. That was followed by severe vomiting, the vomit contained small black dots. I refused to go to hospital as I was too worried about what my parents may think. I just drank plenty of water given by my boyfriend and went home. I was feeling very sick and was in excruciating pain. The pain lasted for about a week on and off, as did the vomiting. I remember thinking to myself 'please stop', the pain was unbearable. If it would just go away, I would never do anything so irresponsible again. Looking back now, I wish I would have attained medical assistance. It would have made the recovery process somewhat bearable. I know now that no matter how low life can get, it is never wise to try to take your own, people are there for you, and sometimes just talking with someone who cares can help."

How to Deal With Paracetamol Overdose

If you believe that a Paracetamol overdose may have occurred (or any other overdose on medication, for that matter), then it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. This is true even if no symptoms are apparent; as mentioned, symptoms often take 24 hours to appear, in that time irreversible damage may be done.

Medical professionals know how many Paracetamol will kill you, so ensure to give them full disclosure on the amount you have consumed, if possible. The following treatments can be offered to those who have overdosed on Paracetamol:

  • Activated charcoal treatment (given within the first hour of overdosing)
  • N-acetylcysteine treatment can be offered up to 24 hours after overdose
  • Oral methionine

It is important to remember that medications and treatments will likely become less effective after 8 hours since overdosing, which is why it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention.

Safe Dosage of Paracetamol for Different Conditions

By knowing how many Paracetamol will kill you, as well as the recommended dose for certain age groups and ailments, you will be able to ensure a safe process of self-medication without disastrous side-effects.

1. Safe Dosage for Adults with Fever

  • Average dosing: A maximum of 650mg every 4-6 hours, or 1000mg every 6-8 hours to be taken orally or rectally.
  • Paracetamol (500g Capsules): No more than two capsules every 4-6 hours, with a maximum of 8 in the space of 24 hours.

2. Safe Dosage for Adults with Pain

  • Average dosing: A maximum of 650mg every 4-6 hours, or 1000mg every 6-8 hours to be taken orally or rectally.
  • Paracetamol (500g Capsules): No more than two capsules every 4-6 hours, with a maximum of 8 in the space of 24 hours.

3. Pediatric Dosage for Children with Fever

If you child has pain, you can give this drug as the following dosage:

  • Less than month old: You can start from 10mg but no more than 15mg every 6-8 hours
  • 1 month to 12 years: You can give in the ranger of 10-15mg every 4-6 hours, with a maximum of 5 doses per day (24 hours).
  • 12 Years and older:325 to 650mg per 4-6 hours, or 1000mg per 6-8 hours.

Note: You can administer the drug to babies orally or rectally.

4. Pediatric Dose for Children with Pain

  • Less than 1month old: No more that 15mg every 6-8 hours
  • 1 month to 12 years: No morethan 15mg every 4-6 hours, with a maximum of 5 doses per day (24 hours).
  • 12 Years and older: maximum of 650mg per 4-6 hours, or 100mg per 6-8 hours.

Note: You can administer the drug to babies orally or rectally.

 
 
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