The researchers investigated the effect of maximal daily doses of acetaminophen on the liver of alcoholic patients.
The findings of the study were reported in the October issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
They determined whether hepatic injury was associated with maximal acetaminophen being given to chronic alcohol abuse patients, immediately following cessation of alcohol intake.
Patients entering an alcohol detoxification center were enrolled in the randomized trial.
Exclusion criteria were baseline values of aspartate or alanine aminotransferase greater than 120 U/L, international normalized ratio greater than 1.5, serum acetaminophen level greater than 20 mg/L, or a history of ingesting more than 4 g/d of acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen, 1000 mg (n = 102), or placebo (n = 99) was administered orally, 4 times daily, for 2 consecutive days and liver test results were monitored for 2 more days.
Acetaminophen was not administered until the alcohol had been eliminated.
| Maximum daily doses of acetaminophen are safe in alcoholics.
| Archives of Internal Medicine |
Demographic data, alcohol history, and baseline blood test results were similar in both groups.
The mean aspartate aminotransferase level on day 4 was found to be 38.0 U/L in the acetaminophen-treated group and 37.5 U/L in the placebo-treated group.
There were 4 patients in the acetaminophen-treated group, and 5 in the placebo-treated group, who developed an increase in their serum aspartate aminotransferase level to greater than 120 U/L. The level did not exceed 200 U/L in any patient.
The mean international normalized ratio on day 4 was 0.96 in the acetaminophen-treated group and 0.98 in the placebo-treated group.
Dr Edwin K. Kuffner, of the Denver Health Authority, concluded on behalf of the group, "Repeated administration of the maximum recommended daily doses of acetaminophen to long-term alcoholic patients was not associated with evidence of liver injury."