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Home > Impact of new UK paracetamol overdose guidelines on patients presenting to the emergency department.

Nfila, G and Lee, S and Binchy, J (2014) Impact of new UK paracetamol overdose guidelines on patients presenting to the emergency department. Irish Medical Journal, 107, (2), p. 47.

External website: http://archive.imj.ie//ViewArticleDetails.aspx?Art...

Paracetamol is involved in a large proportion of overdoses that present to the Emergency Department (ED), either as lone or mixed overdoses. Non-treatment of toxic levels can lead to fulminant liver failure. This study is to determine the impact the new UK treatment guidelines1 will have on patients presenting with paracetamol overdose. A retrospective review was performed on all patients who had paracetamol levels done in the ED between September 2011 and August 2012.

A total of 523 patients were identified, 95(18%) of whom had detectable paracetamol levels. 74 patients from the 95 were evaluated. 18(24%) patients were treated with N-acetylcysteine as per the then paracetamol overdose guidelines. Using the new guidelines would have resulted in 3 more patients being admitted. Our study shows that most patients who present following paracetamol overdose do not require treatment with N-acetylcysteine and suggests that the introduction of the new UK treatment guidelines is likely to result in only a small increase in the number of patients requiring treatment.


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