A new study has revealed that chronic paracetamol users, people who typically take large, daily doses over several years, may increase their risk of death, or kidney, intestinal and heart problems; and doctors may be under-estimating the risks to patients from long-term use of paracetamol.
The research team analyzed data from eight previously-published studies into long-term paracetamol use. The data came only from people who had paracetamol prescribed by a doctor, as opposed to over-the-counter purchases.
Two of the eight studies had found a 63 percent increased risk of mortality among long-term paracetamol users, compared to those who had not been prescribed the drug during the study period. Four studies found a heightened risk, ranging from 19 to 68 percent, of cardiovascular problems. The risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and other intestinal side-effects was up to 49 percent as high. Three studies found chronic paracetamol use had an adverse effect on kidneys. Researchers found that in all cases, the risk was dose-dependent, in other words, the higher the dose, the greater the risk.
The analysis was published in the British journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.