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Excessive drinking worried about paracetamol toxicity - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 13-Jan-2012
User rating for this question
Excellent Posted in: General Health
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3603 Questions
User :   Hi my name i am 23 years old and I am worried that I might have taken a mix of dangerous substances in the past 24 hours. My boyfriend and I had our birthday party together in 2 days and we have been drinking A LOT and I mean ALCOHOLIC a lot. We are heavy drinkers for the past 2 months.We drank whiskey,red and white wine,beer,and more whiskey for 2 days. I woke up with a terrible hangover about 10 hours later and took some vitamin c (1000 mg) and paracetamol (also 1000 mg) . Later I was still feeling like crap and started to vomit even when drinking water so I went online to check for some remedies for hangover nausea and I randomly read that acetaminophen can be very toxic and even deadly when taken during, and even worse after heavy alcohol use. I thought the name sounded familiar so I checked and found out that acetaminophen is actually paracetamol which I took while I was still feeling that there was alcohol in my body.
So I kinda started to panic since I read that in the first 12/24 hours after ingestion the patient starts feeling better only for the symptoms to worsen after 48 and 72 hours. I checked online again for an antidote and found out that acetyl-cysteine is an effective antidote for acetaminophen overdose but I only found it as oral powder in 200mg packs (i took one roughly 10 hours after ingesting the paracetamol,I read it helps when taken 6-16 hours after acetaminophen poisoning) and I suspect that the dosage is not enough. I feel better right now but I am afraid because I read that liver-failing symptoms can occur days after ingestion. I am also afraid to take more acetyl-cysteine or inject it intravenously without medical supervision,I don't want to mess myself up more. What should I do? I don't want to call emergency unless necessary, I live in Serbia and the hospitals here are terrible I suspect that the doctors there will just send me
User :   home with a placebo or something.
Doctor :   Hi
User :   hello
Doctor :  
Let me read through what you have typed.
User :   ok
Doctor :  
Do you have any other medical problems such as diabetes/hypertension/liver disease?
User :   no but I have been drinking a lot since new year, I had heart problems since I used to be 50 pounds overweight and lost the weight in the past 6 months and the heart problems stopped then
Doctor :  
Doctor :  
Paracetamol is one of the safest drugs available.
User :   I used to drink a lot before but in the last 2 months its really out of control though after todays shock I really want to stop
Doctor :  
The toxicity is very uncommon.
User :   yeah I know I use paracetamol all the time thats why I was so shocked to discover its so toxic with alcohol
Doctor :   The symptoms of toxicity include development of jaundice.
Doctor :  
This happens because it can affect the liver.
User :   I checked that an hour ago in the bathroom I don't have any discoloration so far
Doctor :  
Ok. If you are better now and you do not develop jaundice then you may not
Doctor :  
affected by the toxicity of paracetamol.
User :   so if I develop jaundice I should go to the emergency
Doctor :  
And since you have taken only 1000mg of paracetamol, there are chances that you may not be developing it later too.
Doctor :  
So do not worry now.
Doctor :  
Look for signs of jaundice, and if you develop then you may visit the doctor.
Doctor :  
You may not need the antidote too.
Doctor :  
Continue with drinking plenty of water.
Doctor :  
And restrict your alcohol consumption.
Doctor :  
Have you followed?
User :   yes,I'll do that, feel a bit less afraid now thanks a lot
Doctor :  
At this point I would also like to mention that, paracetamol can get metabolised in a few hours time.
User :   and i already told my BF that we need to take a break from drinking
Doctor :  
So if toxic symptoms have to develop it should have happened by now and hence there are almost no chance that you may develop later.
Doctor :  
So do not worry about toxicity of paracetamol.
Doctor :  
Concentrate on restricting the alcohol consumption.
Doctor :  
Hope you are clear now.
User :   alright,thats a relief,I think I needed this shock,it will help me put an end to the booze
Doctor :  
That is the best possible way of keeping a good health.
Doctor :  
Do you have any other query?
User :   thanks a lot doc it's great to have a site like this,the medical system here in Serbia is terrible so I kinda feel relieved that I can check this stuff online
Doctor :  
Please fill the feed back the feed back form too.
Doctor :  
Thanks for consulting HealthcareMagic. Bye for now. Please refer your friends to our service.
User :   thanks a lot that's all for today if I ever have a question I am sure to come back
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