Self medicating for toothache can cause an overdose

A recent study, which appeared in the British Dental Journal, warns that self-medicating for toothache is a major cause of overdose.

Nottingham’s Queens Medical Centre A&E unit found that overusing paracetamol to alleviate tooth pain contributed to both accidental overdose and liver failure and has led to a high number of admissions at the hospital.

The study’s authors claim that there needs to be more information available regarding safe paracetamol usage and dosage. In addition, they called for better dental cover availability, particularly for emergencies.

The study found that thousands of patients suffering from toothache are being treated in A&E for the effects of a paracetamol overdose, because they faced such a long wait to see a dentist.

Some people experienced so much pain while they waited for a dental appointment that they had taken more than 20 times the recommended dosage of paracetamol within a 24 hour period. For adults, the maximum recommended dosage is 75mg within a 24-hour period, according to the British Medical Journal.

Almost 50,000 people in the UK need hospital treatment each year following an overdose of paracetamol, at a cost of over £50,000.

Other medical professionals are in agreement that the rise in admissions for this reason is a concern.

Dr Rupert Evans, of Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, said he is becoming increasingly worried that patients are accidently exceeding the doses for the drug and could be seriously damaging their livers.

Dr Evans said he had seen an increase in overdosing cases recently, with patients with toothache unaware they were also combining the pain-killing tablets with other medicines containing the same drug.

The British Dental Association claims that routine dental care also needs investment to prevent this. It said that lives had been put “at risk” by a “failure” to provide emergency care due to a lack of funding and resources, which has led to people self-medicating, not seeking help or having to wait too long for appointments.

If you’re suffering with toothache please contact Dr Young and his team who can see you very quickly.

Tel 01606 75615