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Regulator to consider restricting sale of paracetamol in supermarkets amid concern about overdoses in teens

The nationwide medicines regulator will take into account proscribing the sale of paracetamol after an unbiased skilled report raised considerations about overdoses in youngsters.

In an announcement, the Therapeutic Items Administration stated it might start a session course of concerning suggestions within the report, which included buy limits of 1 or two packs per individual and proscribing sale and not using a prescription to over 18s.

A customer inspects a box of Paracetamol tablets at a supermarket in Sydney.

A buyer inspects a field of Paracetamol tablets at a grocery store in Sydney. Credit score:James Alcock

Final yr, 3575 circumstances of intentional paracetamol poisoning have been reported to the NSW Poisons Info Centre, which handles half of the nation’s poisoning calls. A College of Sydney examine discovered rising charges of poisoning amongst younger folks reported to the middle and its Victorian counterpart, with a 98 per cent improve between 2006 and 2016.

Professor Nicholas Buckley, who led that analysis in addition to the unbiased evaluation, stated a 50 p.c improve in incidents had been noticed within the 5 years since.

“Individuals have not been paying sufficient consideration to what has been taking place in adolescent self-poisoning,” stated Buckley, who can be a guide on the NSW Poisons Info Centre, noting the pattern was being seen overseas.

Signs of paracetamol overdose embrace drowsiness, stomach ache and vomiting. A extra extreme overdose, both because of the amount taken or delayed remedy, can result in liver failure and dying.

Whereas hospitalization and dying charges haven’t elevated in recent times, “there’s a regarding improve of misuse locally”, the regulator stated in an announcement.

Of their evaluation of obtainable proof, the panel discovered paracetamol overdoses, significantly intentional poisonings, have been two to 3 occasions extra frequent in females than males. They discovered a “notable” improve in poisonings amongst teenage women in 2019 to 2021.

The panel made 4 suggestions on the promoting of paracetamol: a discount within the dimension of packs offered in supermarkets and comfort shops and not using a prescription, or in pharmacies with out the recommendation of a pharmacist; a restrict of 1 or two packs per transaction to cut back residence stockpiles; making modified-release paracetamol (a stronger dose designed for long-term use) prescription solely; and proscribing buy and not using a prescription to folks aged 18 and over.

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