Paracetamol toxicity is caused by excessive use or overdose of the medication paracetamol (acetaminophen).
Most people with paracetamol toxicity have no symptoms in the first 24 hours following overdose. Others may initially have nonspecific complaints such as vague abdominal pain and nausea.
With time, signs of liver injury may develop; these include low blood sugar, low blood pH, a tendency to bleed easily, and hepatic encephalopathy.
Some will spontaneously resolve, although untreated cases may result in death.
Drug-induced liver damage (hepatotoxicity) results not from paracetamol itself, but from one of its metabolites, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine (NAPQI).
NAPQI decreases the liver's natural antioxidant glutathione and directly damages cells in the liver, leading to liver failure.
Treatment is aimed at removing the paracetamol from the body and restoring glutathione.
N acetylcysteine is antidote