A Doctor on TikTok Shares the Dangers of Taking Paracetamol With Alcohol

Dr. Karan Rangarjan, a surgical doctor and lecturer from Sunderland University, shared a TikTok advising people on the dangers of using paracetamol to treat hangovers. The doctor regularly uses his platform to debunk myths, teach medicine, and give doctors personal details on their hospital lives. For example, in a recent video with more than 1 million views, the doctor educates viewers on why it is dangerous to use paracetamol to treat a hangover.

Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a painkiller that treats symptoms such as migraines, headaches, and fevers. However, people should not use it after drinking heavily as the combined effect of paracetamol and alcohol can damage the liver. It can even cause acute live failure if frequent and excessive drinking has impaired the liver.

How paracetamol can damage the liver

Paracetamol should be taken at a low dose even when one has not taken any alcohol because the liver cannot metabolize a large amount of the drug at once. If someone takes too much of the drug, the body will not eliminate the toxic metabolic by-products like acetaldehyde fast enough. As a result, the overdose could damage liver cells. Overdosing on paracetamol causes hepatotoxicity or paracetamol poisoning.

In countries such as the U.K and the U.S, paracetamol overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure; hence it is important to read instructions and seek medical advice before using the drug.

According to Dr. Rangarjan, when people take alcohol and paracetamol together, the body will not produce enough glutathione. Glutathione works by neutralizing the toxic by-products produced by alcohol and paracetamol. If the body does not produce enough glutathione, it can lead to liver damage.

Ibuprofen is a better alternative for hangovers

Instead of paracetamol, Dr. Rangarjan suggests using ibuprofen, a safer alternative, to treat hangovers. Some physicians suggest taking ibuprofen with a pint of water after waking up and eating carbohydrates afterward. However, people should avoid taking either drug above the dose recommended by pharmacists.

Many TikTok viewers have expressed gratitude to the doctor, with many admitting they used paracetamol with alcohol without knowing it was dangerous.

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