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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Availability of Paracetamol Sold Over-the-Counter in Europe: A Descriptive Cross-Sectional International Survey of Pack Size Restriction

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Due to the risk of hepatotoxicity when excessive amounts of paracetamol are consumed, Poisons Information Centers (PICs) frequently receive paracetamol-related enquiries. This study examined how widely pack size restrictions of paracetamol sold over-the-counter have been implemented in Europe and also availability of paracetamol through non-pharmacy outlets and their possible associations with frequency of poisoning enquiries. A cross-sectional European multicentre questionnaire study was performed using a questionnaire to identify the extent and nature of paracetamol pack size restrictions, non-pharmacy outlet sales and the frequency of paracetamol-related enquiries to PICs. In total, 21 European countries participated. All PICs provided telephone hotline services. In 14 (67%) countries, pack size restrictions had been implemented in pharmacies (range: 8-30 grams). No significant difference (median difference 0.7%, p-value=0.36) was found when comparing median frequencies of paracetamol-related enquiries in countries with pack size restriction to countries without restrictions. A significantly lower median frequency of paracetamol-related enquiries was found in countries without non-pharmacy outlet sales compared to those with such sales (median difference 2.2%, p = 0.02). Pack size restrictions on pharmacy sales of paracetamol have been implemented in two thirds of examined countries. There was no difference in the proportion of paracetamol-related enquiries to PICs among countries with and without pack size restrictions. However, a lower rate of paracetamol-related enquiries was noted in countries where paracetamol was not available in non-pharmacy outlets. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology
Pages (from-to)643-649
ISSN1742-7843
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52540663