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True risks of paracetamol may be underestimated, say researchers

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 03 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1186
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

A systematic review of paracetamol’s efficacy and tolerability in individual conditions is necessary because the true risks of taking the drug may have been underestimated, a UK team of researchers writes in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.1

Philip Conaghan, professor at the Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine, and colleagues carried out a systematic literature review to assess the adverse event profile of paracetamol. All of the eight studies that met the inclusion criteria were cohort studies. The researchers found a dose related link between paracetamol and increasing incidence of mortality and cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and renal adverse events, although the overall risks of these problems remained small.

Of two studies that showed mortality one found a dose response and reported an increased relative rate of …

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