Grabbing a couple of packets of Panadol while you’re at the shops may not be possible soon after a new report found misuse of the medication was on the rise.
Around 50 Aussies die every year from a paracetamol overdose and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is examining whether the current ease of accessibility is appropriate.
An independent report commissioned by the TGA found teenagers and young adults had the highest rates of intentional overdose with the pain killers.
The rates were higher among females in those age groups.
The report found that while hospitalisation and death rates had not increased in recent years, there had been a "concerning increase" of misuse.
Thankfully, survival rates from paracetamol overdose are typically excellent but only if treatment is sought within six hours of ingestion.
Delayed treatment can result in serious liver injury and sometimes death and can be complicated by different forms of the drug.
The TGA report found both planned and impulsive overdoses occurred at similar rates but said the latter often used paracetamol already in their homes.
The TGA said consumers also tended to buy the larger-sized packs, which were more often used in overdoses.
Several recommendations from the report are now being considered by the regulator, including reducing the size of packs of paracetamol sold and limiting the number of packs people can buy in one shop.
Restricting people under the age of 18 from buying paracetamol without a prescription is also being recommended.
The report also called for increased communication about the dangers of misusing painkillers.
If you or anyone you know is struggling please contact:
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Beyondblue - 1300 22 4636
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)
- With AAP