Why we should reconsider frequent use of paracetamol
April 30, 2016
Paracetamol is one of the most common drug we use for benign pain related issues. The marketing supporting this product is massive, as it is often considered relatively cheap, effective and harmless.
Paracetamol was discovered in the 1950s. Since then, many reviews have shown that it might not exactly be the go-to medication that we thought it was back then.
Recent data suggests, regarding efficiency :
It has modest efficiency on headaches
It is ineffective for back pain and mostly ineffective in arthritis
No evidence has proven it to help for neck pain, period-related pain or cancer pain
Regarding safety :
At high dose, increases risks of heart, digestive and liver related issues
In acute pain, same rate of adverse events as placebo
Now, we need more data to know what treatment, drug or drug-free, works the best for a given situation, and start dealing with analgesic failure the right way, instead of continuously prescribing it, hoping that it will eventually work.
Source : Moore, A. R. (2016). Paracetamol and pain: The kiloton problem. European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy. doi:10.1136/ejhpharm-2016-000952