Pharmacy/Paracetamol

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Question
Is crushing up paracetamol okay? The ones I took have a score on them and are not capsules. I took two (the recommended amount) and those were the only two I had that day. I chewed them quickly and swallowed them. I know that some drugs are okay to crush up, but I keep worrying about ODing because of the possibility of the medication releasing too quickly into my blood.

Also, how long after taking paracetamol can you drink? I hate taking medication and obsess quite a bit over mixing medications and drug reactions.

Answer
    It is OK to crush paracetamol even though it may taste very bad.  As long as you consume the entire dose there are no safety issues caused by crushing or chewing paracetamol when you take the recommended dose and recommended intervals or less often.

    The most frequent toxicity seen with paracetamol is seen with chronic alcoholics.  Someone who consumes alcohol occasionally, rather that on a consistent daily basis, is generally not at a great risk of liver toxicity from paracetamol as long as that follow the manufacturers dosing recommendations.  If you take a single dose of paracetamol it should be OK for you to have 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks within 2 to 4 hours.  In fact there is some evidence that paracetamol may induce enzymes in the liver that may temporarily protect the liver from the damaging effects of alcohol for 6-12 hours in persons who occasionally take paracetamol and occasionally drink alcohol.  This is NOT the case in chronic alcoholics. The key is to take as little as possible as seldom as possible.

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Barb Judge

Pharmacy

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Barbara Judge

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Outpatient pharmacy and general health. I have recently completed a Pharmceutical Care Certificate Program offered by Purdue University (Spring 1999 completion). I have personal experience dealing with terminally ill persons and their needs, as well as their families` needs. I graduated in 1984 from Pharmacy School and have been a Licensed Pharmacist since then. I have 18 years retail pharmacy experience. Prior to my pharmacy training I have 3 years hospital experience as a Nurse`s Aide.

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