Indiscriminate use of paracetamol will lead to liver disease

Most people with low back pain are prescribed with paracetamol which is very common and can even be bought without prescription. Findings now reveal that it does not actually help alleviate low back pains and frequent use of the drug may only cause liver problems.

A report from the British Medical Journal on today’s issue includes researchers revealing that the drug does not help patients with osteoarthritis in the hip or knee and the risk of getting liver problems is not worth  taking.

“Paracetamol has been widely recommended as being a safe medication, but what we are saying now is that paracetamol doesn’t bring any benefit for patients with back pain, and it brings only trivial benefits to those with osteoarthritis,” stated Gustavo Machado of The George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney “In addition to that it might bring harm to those patients.”

Paracetamol is commonly prescribed for the treatment of low back pain and osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Yet a test was made to determine its effectiveness and the result showed it does only little to treat the pain. “We concluded that it is too small to be clinically worthwhile,” says Machado.

He said that the human body may react differently to paracetamol when used in treating other pains . “There is probably a difference in the pain mechanisms in low back pain and osteoarthritis, compared to headache,” says Machado.

The study points out that patients using paracetamol to treat low back pains and osteoarthritis is four times more at risk of getting irregular results on liver function examinations.

Another recent study by Machado and his colleagues show that paracetamol also trigger a greater risk of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and renal disease. They advise doctors to reasses their recommendation their suggestion that patients use the drug for their low back pains.

“The researchers say other non-drug treatments recommended in the clinical guidelines should be used instead.These include reassuring patients that low back pain is generally benign and that the best remedy is to keep active. Exercise, strength training and weight management have been shown to be effective in treating osteoarthritis of the hip and knee,” stated Machado.

“We should have a further look at the guidelines and use those safer approaches.”


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