Taking Paracetamol on a regular basis may do more harm than good to you.
Paracetamol has, until now, been regarded as especially helpful for those who cannot take painkilling non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen as they may be allergic to NSAIDs.
A growing evidence from studies conducted across the world links the drug to a number of very serious side-effects like asthma and developmental defects, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, as well as potentially lethal heart and kidney problems in adults, and even a risk of death from rare, but excruciating, skin reactions.
Over recent months, other evidence has emerged that should make people wary of using paracetamol as a first resort when feeling pain.
In February, a report in the respected journal JAMA Pediatrics warned that children born to women who used paracetamol during pregnancy may have an increased risk of ADHD and other behavioural problems.
The best known danger of paracetamol is an overdose, intentional or otherwise. Excess paracetamol can overwhelm the liver’s processing abilities and cause damage, resulting in acute liver failure which can prove fatal.
John Dickson, a Middlesbrough GP and community rheumatologist, who was once a clinical adviser for Nice guidance on osteoarthritis, is particularly concerned by research showing that sustained paracetamol use over months or years causes gastric bleeding.
He said: “This is particularly dangerous for elderly people, because this causes the loss of haemoglobin – the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen.”
Other American research has linked long-term use of paracetamol with blood cancer. In one study of nearly 65,000 people, taking paracetamol for at least four days a week for four years was linked to nearly double the risk of being diagnosed with leukaemia or lymphoma.
However, Professor Donald Singer, a fellow of the British Pharmacological Society, said Paracetamol is a useful drug if used in the right way, adding that it is a powerful drug with powerful side effects when taken excessively.