Previous studies have suggested that therapeutic doses of paracetamol (acetaminophen) are safe in alcoholic patients when administered for up to 3 days.
However, 14 days of therapeutic doses of paracetamol has been associated with an increase in serum transaminases.
Dr Heard and colleagues from Colorado, USA determined the effect of 10 days of the maximal therapeutic dose of paracetamol on serum alanine aminotransferase activity in subjects who consume 1 to 3 alcoholic beverages per day.
|The paracetamol group had alanine aminotransferase levels of 8.7 IU/L|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The team conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Subjects took 4 g of paracetamol or placebo daily for 10 days.
Serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, bilirubin and INR were measured at baseline, day 4 and day 11.
Symptoms potentially related to liver injury were also recorded.
The researchers found that paracetamol and placebo groups had no change from baseline values at day 4.
However, the team noted that the paracetamol group had an increase in mean alanine aminotransferase at day 11 of 8.7 IU/L.
No subject developed symptoms of liver injury or met predefined criteria for hepatotoxicity or liver failure.
Dr Heard's team concluded, "Therapeutic dosing of paracetamol administered for 10 days appears to elevate serum alanine aminotransferase in moderate drinkers, but does not produce clinically evident liver injury."