One of Rob’s colleagues is ill and as he is in charge of the time table she left him messages at 5.30 and 6.30 this morning (he puts his phone on silence at night these days – can’t think why!).
At breakfast he phoned her up to let her know that she wasn’t working today anyway and to ask how she was. It seems she has flu and was dosing herself up with paracetamol and a cold/flu cure which is popular here, it also contains paracatemol, as well as another medicine we don’t know. As soon as he put the phone down he realized what she had said and sent her a message telling her she was double dosing on paracetamol. She didn’t know it was dangerous at all and thanked him.
We then forwarded the number to the anti-poison center (first page of telephone directory in France), so that she could check whether she was okay.
She contacted us a few minutes later to say that they had instructed her not to take anymore paracetamol for at least 15 hours. She lives alone, had she continued to dose herself up every four hours goodness knows what would have happened.
In France you have to go to the pharmacy to buy all medicines. If you buy paracetamol and the cold cure together they always advise you not to take them at the same time. I hope that everyone knows how dangerous paracetamol can be.
“The onset of analgesia is approximately 11 minutes after oral administration of paracetamol, and its half-life is 1–4 hours. While generally safe for use at recommended doses (1,000 mg per single dose and up to 4,000 mg per day for adults), acute overdoses of paracetamol can cause potentially fatal kidney, brain and liver damage and, in rare individuals, a normal dose can do the same. The risk may be heightened by chronic alcohol abuse. Paracetamol toxicity is the foremost cause of acute liver failure in the Western world, and accounts for most drug overdoses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand”