London: Heavy dose of paracetamol or combination remedies containing the drug to combat cold and flu can prove to be fatal, reveals a new study.
Taking too much paracetamol in pills and cold remedies can prove to be dangerous, according to British researchers, the Daily Mail reported.
The study shows that the risk of dying from liver failure due to accidental overdose is higher than deliberate suicide attempts.
This is due to the unawareness of the patients who report feeling unwell to the accident and emergency departments without knowing the cause, making it difficult to diagnose and treat in time.
According to researchers, eight 500mg tablets a day -- equivalent of 4gm, should be the maximum daily dosage.
In the study led by Kenneth Simpson, researcher at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, analysed data of 663 patients who had been admitted between 1992 and 2008 with liver damage caused by paracetamol.
They found 161 people with an average age of 40 had taken a staggered overdose, usually to relieve stomach or back pain, headache and toothache, two out of five died from liver failure - a higher fatality rate than recorded for deliberate overdosing, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported.
"The staggered overdoses can occur when people have pain and repeatedly take a little more paracetamol than they should, they don`t keep track of how much they`ve consumed over a few days," Simpson said.
"The safest thing to do is monitor how much you`re taking and do not exceed eight 500mg tablets in a day," he added.
Normal quantities of the drug are broken down harmlessly by the body but excessive amounts can accumulate in the liver, leading to irreversible damage.