Painkillers, paracetamol - Side effects 

Side effects of paracetamol  

Reporting side effects

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine that you are taking. It is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). See the Yellow Card Scheme website for more information.

Side effects from paracetamol are rare.

However, side effects can include:

  • a rash or swelling – this could be a sign of an allergic reaction
  • hypotension (low blood pressure) when given in hospital by infusion (a continuous drip of medicine into a vein in your arm) 
  • liver and kidney damage, when taken at higher-than-recommended doses (overdose)

In extreme cases the liver damage that can result from a paracetamol overdose can be fatal.

Dosage

Make sure you take paracetamol as directed on the label or as instructed by a health professional. Unless instructed otherwise, do not take more than four doses of paracetamol within 24 hours.

If you think you have taken too much paracetamol, go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department.

Paracetamol can also be associated with blood disorders, such as thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) and leukopenia (low number of white blood cells), but this is extremely rare. 

Driving ability

Paracetamol, taken at recommended doses, is not known to interfere with your ability to drive.


Page last reviewed: 30/06/2014

Next review due: 30/06/2016

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