HealthDay News — Modifications to labelling standards for acetaminophen, implemented in October 2009 and September 2016, were not associated with trends in hospital admission for accidental acetaminophen overdose, according to a study published online April 19 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Tony Antoniou, Ph.D., from the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute in Toronto, and colleagues examined hospital admissions for accidental acetaminophen overdose in nine Canadian provinces and three Canadian territories between April 1, 2004, and March 31, 2020, in a population-based study. The impact of updated labelling standards (implemented in October 2009 and September 2016, with full compliance expected by March 2018) on rates of hospital admission for accidental acetaminophen overdose was examined.

The researchers found that over the study period, the monthly rates of hospital admission for accidental acetaminophen overdose were essentially unchanged (0.21 and 0.22 cases per 1000,000 population in 2004 and 2020). No associations were seen between changing labelling standards and trends in the rates of accidental acetaminophen overdose hospital admissions. Furthermore, there was no impact noted on admissions involving intensive care unit stay and concomitant opioid poisoning in association with labelling changes.


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“Given the impacts to the public health and health systems of accidental acetaminophen overdose and the interest of policymakers worldwide in promoting the safe use of acetaminophen, our findings suggest that additional measures are needed for preventing these events,” the authors write.

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