A team from Edinburgh, Scotland, investigated whether changes in the referral of patients with paracetamol-induced acute liver failure have occurred since the introduction of legislation.
Paracetamol overdose is the commonest cause of acute liver failure in the UK, which has led to measures to restrict its sale.
The researchers compared data from patients admitted to the Scottish Liver Transplantation Unit, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, in 1992-1998 with those admitted in 1998-2001.
| Socioeconomic status lower amongst those with paracetamol-induced liver failure.
The incidence of paracetamol-induced liver failure, severity of patients' illness, and outcome did not differ between the groups.
Carstairs scores, a commonly used measure of socioeconomic status in Scotland, were also evaluated.
Patients with paracetamol-induced acute liver failure were found to have higher Carstairs scores (1·99; n = 190) than patients with non-paracetamol acute liver failure (0·02; n = 68).
Philip N. Newsome, of the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, concluded on behalf of his colleagues, "We have shown an association between paracetamol-induced acute liver failure and social deprivation."