Pain Relief Paracetamol Should Be Safe?

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Federal Institute for Medicines considers pain reliever paracetamol as safe

After an investigation, the Federal Institute for Drugs (BfArM) came to the conclusion that the controversial pain reliever paracetamol was "safe and effective". In a recently published bulletin, the institute writes that there are no indications of "clinically relevant liver damage under therapeutic dosage".

Pain relievers such as aspirin and paracetamol are controversial among experts. The medical and pharmaceutical expert Prof. Dr. Kay Brune from the University of Erlangen recently suffered serious side effects that can also occur with normal doses. In his opinion, such a drug would “no longer be approved today”. The analgesic should not even be sold on prescription, according to Brune.

The Federal Institute for Drugs sees it completely differently. In the published bulletin, the authors write that there is no evidence that “relevant liver damage occurs with therapeutic dosing”. The Federal Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (BAH) welcomed the decision of the BfArM. The spokesman Elmar Kroth now hopes "that the last discussion that has unsettled many patients will now come to an end". Around 50 million packs containing the active ingredient paracetamol are sold in Germany each year. It is the most widely distributed pain reliever.

The poison information center, however, calls for a general prescription obligation for pain relievers. Poisoning from overdoses occurs every day because many patients dose themselves for pain. In the UK, around 30,000 patients are hospitalized each year for paracetamol poisoning. About 150 of the treated patients die from the consequences of an overdose. In Germany, according to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, a total of 16 deaths (2010) occurred from an analgesic, four of them from an acute paracetamol overdose. Critics assume that the number of unreported cases is significantly higher, since mostly long-term consequences rather than acute ones are to be expected. (sb)

Read on:
Dangerous pain reliever aspirin & paracetamol
Pain relievers can be fatal when ingested
Pain relievers cause rising costs
Painkillers as the cause of pain?
Over-the-counter medicines are by no means safe

Image: Andrea Damm /

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