At a glance
Also known as
Why get tested?
In order to establish a diagnosis of paracetamol over dosage, to assess risk of liver damage and to decide on the need for protective, antidotal therapy
When to get tested?
Four hours after a single overdose, or as soon as possible after that, and immediately if more than one overdose has been taken within the last 1 or 2 days. It is best to treat an overdose within 8 hours whenever possible.
Testing may be ordered when a person has and symptoms of an overdose. These can appear as early as 2 to 3 hours after ingestion or may not occur for 12 or more hours. Some of these include:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain or cramping
If untreated, toxicity can progress within 3 to 4 days to include jaundice, liver and kidney failure, convulsions, coma and death. If treatment is received within 8 hours of the overdose, however, there is a very good chance of recovery.
A blood sample drawn from a vein usually in an arm
What is being tested?
The plasma paracetamol concentration is being measured
How is the sample collected for testing?
Normally from a vein in the arm by use of a needle and syringe