Test Background Paracetamol (acetominophen) is an analgesic, antipyretic drug lacking significant anti-inflammatory activity. It is metabolised by the liver with a normal elimination half-life of <4 hours. In normal therapeutic doses, a minor metabolite readily reacts with glutathione in the liver to yield a detoxified product. In overdose situations, liver glutathione is consumed and the toxic metabolite (postulated metabolite: benzoquinone) reacts with cellular proteins resulting in hepatotoxicity and possible death if untreated. N-acetylcysteine can substitute for glutathione and serves as an antidote.
Clinical Indications Suspected overdose: symptoms include nausea and vomiting, right subcostal pain and tenderness (hepatic necrosis).
Reference Range See British National Formulary for overdose guidelines
Sample Required SST (gold top)
Sample Volume 0.5 mL
Turnaround Time 1 day