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Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol

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Taking too much ibuprofen – a painkiller which is available over the counter – also known as an overdose, can be very dangerous – especially to the liver. In fact, paracetamol overdose is the most common cause of liver failure in the UK, experts warn.

In a study published in the National Library of Health, ibuprofen toxicity and liver disease were further analysed.

The study reported a case regarding a 59-year-old woman who was treated with ibuprofen (600 mg three times daily) for hip pain and developed jaundice and fatigue five days later.

She was admitted to a referral hospital and the medication was stopped.

Laboratory results showed marked elevations in serum aminotransferase levels and serum bilirubin of 20 mg/dL (Table).

She continued to do poorly and developed ascites and renal dysfunction.

She underwent successful liver transplantation 10 weeks after onset.

The liver showed submassive hepatic necrosis.

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Clinically apparent hepatic injury from ibuprofen is very rare, but it can be severe, and several cases of ibuprofen related acute liver failure leading to death or need for liver transplantation have been described, buy generic bupropion nz without prescription noted the study.

It added: “Typical in this case was the abrupt onset of injury within a week of starting ibuprofen.

“The absence of other causes for the acute liver failure and the appearance within days of starting ibuprofen in a patient on no other medication is in favour of the drug causing the injury.

“Nevertheless, acute liver failure of unknown cause occurs, and the ibuprofen therapy, which is common, may have been coincidental and ibuprofen may have been started because of the nonspecific symptoms that often arise early in the course of acute hepatitis.”

There’s a very rare risk of liver failure after taking ibuprofen. If you have liver disease, talk to your doctor before taking ibuprofen.

Stop taking ibuprofen and contact your doctor right away if you start to have any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Itchiness
  • Yellowing of skin or the whites of the eyes
  • Pain in the upper right area of the abdomen
  • Flu-like symptoms.

Signs you have may have taken too much ibuprofen include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea

John Smith, PAGB Chief Executive said: “It is important to note that studies do highlight that paracetamol is considered safe at therapeutic doses, but emphasise the dangers of taking more than the recommended dosage and advise users to monitor their intake carefully.

“Paracetamol has been on the market for more than 50 years and is an appropriately safe and effective treatment for mild to moderate short-term pain relief, if used in accordance with the clear on-pack instructions and the patient information leaflet inside.

“We would advise anyone who is concerned about the use of paracetamol to speak to their pharmacist in the first instance. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and can provide useful information and advice on over-the-counter painkillers.”

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