(Registered under the Societies Act XXI of 1860)
Mutually Affiliated with the British & Nepal Medical Associations
I.M.A. House, Indraprastha Marg, New Delhi-110 002
Telephones: +91-11-2337 0009, 2337 0250, 2337 8680, 2337 0473, 2337 0492, 2337 8424
Fax: +91-11-23379470, 23370375, 23379178
Website:; Email: [email protected]
Press Release
This New Year, say no to self- medication
Paracetamol is one of the most commonly self-prescribed OTC drugs in India
Majority of the population remains unaware of the dangers of Paracetamol poisoning
New Delhi, Dec 30, 2015: Suffering from a headache or a mild fever? Did you just self-medicate yourself
and pop a Paracetamol available over the counter? Think again, for some over the counter drugs may
actually be dangerous for you if consumed in the wrong quantities or with add-ons such as alcohol.
Paracetamol is the most widely used pain killer and anti-fever drug in the country. It is an integral
component of hundreds of over the counter and prescription medications available in the market. Though
remarkably safe when taken in medically prescribed dose, an overdose of Paracetamol can cause fatal
and non-fatal liver damage. So much so that in consumers who drink alcohol on a regular basis, even a
medically prescribed dose of Paracetamol can prove fatal if taken for a longer period of time. For instance
as little as 6gms of Paracetamol consumed in 24 hours taken by women who regularly consume alcohol
can cause acute liver injury. Children and pregnant women too remain at a high risk.
Speaking about the dangers of self-medication, Dr. S.S Agarwal – National President and Padma Shri
Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said, ”With the age of
the internet and easily available OTC medicines, self-medication has become a common practice each one
of us indulge in. Paracetamol is one of the most commonly self-prescribed OTC drugs in India. However
what most people remain unaware of is that when consumed in excess quantities, and along with
substances such as alcohol and other drugs, even Paracetamol can be life-threatening. It is thus important
that each one of us consult our physicians before popping bills.”
Paracetamol poisoning is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States and is
becoming a major cause of concern in India too. The drug in India is available in two variants; one for
instant relief and the other for sustained relief over a period of time in compositions of 125, 500, 650 mg.
So the question remains is how much Paracetamol is safe to consume and what are the triggers for
Paracetamol poisoning.
The therapeutic dose of Paracetamol is 10-15 mg per kg body weight for children below the age of 12 and
325-1000 mg per kg body weight for adults and can be given every 4-6 hours. The maximum
recommended daily dose of Paracetamol in a day is 70 mg per kg in children or 4 grams in adults. Toxicity
is unlikely to result from a single dose of less than 150 mg/kg in a child or 7.5 to 10 grams in an adult.
However toxicity is likely to occur with a single dose of more than 250 mg per kg or more than 12grams
for adults in a period of 24 hours.
Specific signs of Paracetamol poisoning include:
 Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
 Loss of co-ordination
All communications intended for headquarters office should be addressed to the Hony. Secretary General
 Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), which can cause symptoms including sweating, trembling, nausea and
If anyone notices any signs of Paracetamol poisoning they must consult their doctor immediately. In
addition to this people who consume alcohol on a regular basis, pregnant women and parents of young
children must never self-prescribe medicines. They must always consult their family doctor.
The whole idea of writing this article is to emphasize that just because several drugs are available over the
counter does not mean that they are all safe and can be self prescribed. It only means they can be
procured from the market without a medical prescription. It is extremely important that they are taken
under medical guidance. In addition to this, it is also important to note that often people try and
deliberately take their life by consuming large number of painkillers in a go. To avoid any such case it is
important that we raise awareness about this topic and never keep over a strip of Paracetamol at our
home at a time. Prevention is key to living a healthy and disease free life.
-EndsAbout IMA: Indian Medical Association is the only representative, national voluntary organization of
Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine, which looks after the interest of doctors as well as
the well being of the community at large. It has its Headquarter in Delhi and State / Terr. Branches in 29
States and Union Territories. It has over 2, 53,000 doctors as its members through more than 1650
active local branches spread across the country.
For further information, please contact:
Rakhi – 9871109555
Sanjeev Khanna – 9871079105
Md Adib Ahmad – 9873716235
[email protected]
IMA Public & Media Advocacy Cell
All communications intended for headquarters office should be addressed to the Hony. Secretary General
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