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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: acetaminophen poisoning

 preclick00 - Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:45 am

I recently did something incredibly stupid and am very worried. On Sunday afternoon I got sort of drunk (4 alcoholic drinks) then drank a bottle of NyQuil (6oz). I have never done this before and don’t know where the impulse even came from. It later occurred to me that Nyquil contains Acetaminophen. I always make a point to avoid it Tylenol etc. because I am a heavy drinker and I know that it does not mix well with Alcohol. I did the math and it I ingested 5,900 mgs of Acetaminophen in about 10 minutes. I did throw up at some point, although I’m not exactly sure as to the timing. And when I woke up I kept drinking. It is hard for me to even write this down as it is so reckless. My questions are as follows.
1. Do I need to go to the hospital? Could I potentially die of liver failure if I don’t go immediately?
2. I have heard that it takes closer to 10,000 mgs to kill you, but could the alcohol somehow lower this number?
3. Did throwing up reduce the amount I took in, or does Acetaminophen get ingested quickly?
4. Should I not drink for awhile (besides the obvious I should not drink, I know that, but could I potentially be doing something really bad? )
5. Have I permanently damaged my liver by drinking and taking so much Acetaminophen?
Thanks for any reply.

 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:19 pm

User avatar Hello,

Hepatic toxicity due to paracetamol may occur following ingestion of a dose more than 7.5 to 10 g (i.e. 24 regular-strength or 15 extra-strength caplets or tablets) over a period of 8 hours or less.

Early liver damage can be detected by abnormal liver function tests (elevated liver enzymes) this can occur within 2 to 5 days after overdosage.

Fatal hepatic toxicity, encephalopathy (with mental changes, confusion, agitation, or stupor), convulsions, respiratory depression, coma, metabolic disturbances, cardiac arrhythmias, and cardiovascular collapse are reported with overdoses more than 15 g.

Most painkillers have interaction with alcohol, and dose adjustment should be done when drinking alcohol. Alcohol is known to augment paracetamol induced hepatic toxicity. Paracetamol dose should be reduced inchronic alcoholics (resulting in liver damage) as well as liver damage due to other causes. You should always consult your physician regarding the recommended dose.

I would advise you to follow up with your doctor; he will recommend blood tests for liver function and US as need.

Please keep us updated.
Best regards.

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