Previously, we told you how the popular painkiller paracetamol (acetaminophen) lands 78,000 people in A&E each year.
We also told you that, when used as a hangover treatment (even after drinking a small to moderate amount of alcohol), paracetamol increases the risk of kidney disease by a staggering 123 per cent.
Too much of a bad thing
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been brought up to believe that paracetamol is a “safe” painkiller. In fact, families have turned to paracetamol for “risk-free” pain relief since the 1950s. And today, it’s the most widely used painkiller in the world.
Yet, despite mounting evidence showing that it is not so ‘risk-free’, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is adamant that there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal link between paracetamol and these adverse events. The agency claims that the balance of risks and benefits for paracetamol remains positive.
And yet, a recent study, published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, is showing once again that it is best to steer clear of this drug. The researchers found that patients who took high doses of paracetamol for extended periods of time increased their risk of early death by as much as 63 per cent!
That’s not all. The risk of having a heart attack or stroke skyrocketed 68 per cent, and there was a nearly 50 per cent greater chance of having kidney disease or bleeding of the digestive tract.
So let’s see… kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, in the US this drug is the leading cause of liver failure… and a 63 per cent increased risk of an early death. All for the sake of getting rid of a headache? I don’t think so.
If you ever take paracetamol, use the lowest doses in the shortest length of time possible. Read labels carefully for paracetamol in sleep aids, and cold and flu relievers, because it is sometimes listed as APAP.
Better still, try to treat the root cause of pain, inflammation. Even simple natural treatments like fish oil can help you get the upper hand on inflammation.