Paracetamol overreliance can be deadly — Watch out for these side effects

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Risks of overreliance on paracetamol: 5 potential side effects.—Bloomberg
Risks of overreliance on paracetamol: 5 potential side effects.—Bloomberg

More than one in ten Brits admit to relying on painkillers to navigate their daily routines, with data from Mamedica revealing that 13% of individuals depend on pain relief just to make it through the day, The Sun (US) reported. 

However, overusing the commonly used pain medication, paracetamol raises concerns about serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

According to Mamedica's findings, 16% of respondents habitually take painkillers every four hours when in pain, while 12% report feeling no effect even when following the recommended dosage. Chronic pain affects around 28 million adults in the UK, emphasising the prevalence of the issue.

Long-term use of paracetamol, however, is linked to potential side effects, ranging from dangerous allergic reactions to liver and kidney damage. Here are the five side effects that users should be aware of:

1. Heart attack and stroke 

Certain paracetamol tablets with a hidden ingredient, sodium, have been associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

2. Increase in blood pressure

Contrary to its reputation as a safer alternative to other painkillers, a study in 2022 found a worrisome link between regular paracetamol use and heightened blood pressure.

3. Allergic reaction

While rare, serious allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis, can occur, prompting the need for immediate medical attention.

4. Liver and kidney damage 

Excessive use of paracetamol is associated with potential damage to the liver and kidneys, particularly for individuals with pre-existing issues in these organs.

5. Blood disorders 

Paracetamol, in rare cases, can contribute to blood disorders such as thrombocytopenia (low platelet levels) and leukopenia (insufficient white blood cells), impacting blood clotting and the body's ability to fight diseases.

The risks associated with long-term paracetamol use underscore the importance of caution and adherence to recommended dosages to safeguard users' health.