Farmacologia y Toxicologia

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Short Communication - (2022) Volume 12, Issue 4

Paracetamol’s Hepatic Pharmacology and Toxicology: Age-Related Changes

Richard Adams* and Jhoseph advar
Health science and medicine Karolinska Institute, Sweden
*Correspondence: Richard Adams, Health science and medicine Karolinska Institute, Sweden, Email:

Received: 05-Aug-2022, Manuscript No. Ipft-22-119; Editor assigned: 08-Aug-2022, Pre QC No. Ipft-22-119 (PQ); Reviewed: 22-Aug-2022, QC No. QC No. Ipft-22-119; Revised: 27-Aug-2022, Manuscript No. Ipft-22-119(R); Published: 05-Sep-2022, DOI: 10.36648/2174-8365.12.4.119


When the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the medicine are known, the best course of treatment can be chosen. However, choosing the best dose for an older adult might be difficult due to age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, as well as the increased interindividual variance. Suboptimal dose selection, subpar efficacy, and/or increased toxicity are caused by a lack of knowledge about how hepatic clearance and toxicity change with age. The analgesic paracetamol, which has been around for more than 50 years and is frequently ingested by elderly persons, is of special concern. Although paracetamol is generally regarded as a safe medicine, care must be exercised due to its potential for toxicity. Up to 55% of elderly persons who accidentally overdose on paracetamol experience liver damage. A better understanding of how ageing impacts medication toxicity and hepatic clearance can help prescribe medicines for older patients in a way that is supported by the available data, resulting in fewer negative drug reactions without sacrificing effectiveness.


Paracetamol; Hepatotoxicity; Acetaminophen; Nigeria; Liver


Due to its therapeutic relevance and its dose-dependent hepatotoxicity in both animals and people, paracetamol continues to be one of the most researched substances that induce hepatotoxicity. The first-line analgesic therapy for nonmalignant pain is paracetamol, an efficient analgesic drug. The risk of hepatotoxicity posed by paracetamol, however, restricts its use. The prevalence of major adverse drug reactions (ADRs) also rises with age, even after controlling for higher medication use, as there are more diseases that drugs may help treat as people get older. Most ADRs, including drug-induced liver injury (DILI), are dose-related in older persons. Therefore, it's crucial to maximise the safety and effectiveness of drug use in older persons [1].

The data basis for dose adjustments in elderly patients for the majority of medications is restricted to pharmacokinetic studies in modest groups of healthy volunteers. On the clinical results of dose modification, particularly in the elderly and frail, there is a dearth of information. Genetic variability is a significant risk factor for hepatotoxicity across all age groups. This may be made worse in older individuals due to the multi-factorial significant interindividual variance in response to drugs, which raises the dangers of toxicity and ineffectiveness. This is especially concerning in the case of frailty, a state of greater susceptibility to unfavourable outcomes. Although clinical response monitoring is crucial to maximise efficacy and minimise toxicity, vague presentations as "geriatric syndromes" may make it more difficult to identify side effects in older patients. The risk of toxicity is further increased by age-related modifications in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of medications [2, 3].

The clinically elevated risk of paracetamol hepatotoxicity in older persons is probably due to dosing that fails to take agerelated liver volume loss into account, as well as weakness and malnutrition. Recent research on the ageing liver, however, identifies unique mechanisms for age-related alterations in hepatic toxicology and pharmacology. In this article, we discuss age-related physiological changes, paying special emphasis to changes that affect the liver specifically, and how these changes may affect hepatic pharmacology and toxicology of paracetamol. Older people experience alterations in drug receptors, physiologic reserve, and drug pharmacodynamics in response to injury. The pharmacokinetic alterations in ageing have been better characterised than these modifications, though. The two well-explained systems are the cardiovascular and neurological systems. Older persons have been shown to have decreased cardiac and -adrenergic system reactivity. Age-related declines in dopaminergic neurons and D2 receptors in the central nervous system have extrapyramidal side effects. Studies using animal models indicate that altered opioid receptors (decreased -opioid receptor density and increased affinity) in old age may account for enhanced susceptibility to narcotic and anaesthetic drugs [4, 5].

Materials and methods

The study was conducted at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City, Nigeria, a tertiary medical facility with a population of around 1,676,000 people. The institution's ethics committee granted ethical permission before the study began. The widely used brand names of ACTs and Paracetamol were obtained straight from reputable drug stores that were authorised by the Ministry of Health, Benin City, Nigeria. The recruited patients' sample size was determined according to the established standard timetable. Patients who met the inclusion criteria were those over the age of 18 with a Plasmodium falciparum parasite count between 1000 and 10,000 parasites/l of blood, an axillary temperature of less than 37.5 °C, those who had not taken anti-malarial, paracetamol, herbal, or related supplements for treatment, and those who had no history of hypersensitivity to ACTs and paracetamol. The patients were systematically randomised by choosing an a priori treatment group. This was divided by 40 to indicate the average population size of those who experienced a negative medication reaction while taking an antimalarial. Consequently, a sample factor of 15 was obtained [6-8].

Every sixteenth patient was chosen, then. As a result, there were 70 patients in all. 50 of the 70 patients who were recruited completed the permission form. Ten recruited patients were divided equally among the ALP, AAP, AMP, ASPP, and DHPP groups. That corresponds to each group of ten patients (n = 10). All participants received free ACTs and paracetamol to be taken orally in accordance with the three days (Days 0, 1, and 2) suggested dose regimen. In other words, paracetamol was given three times daily (every 8 hours for three days) and ACTs were given twice daily (every 12 hours for three days) as per the regimen. Participants were also provided free Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) as rewards before and after the course of therapy. Each patient had 5-7 millilitres of blood drawn from the antecubital vein. Blood samples for the control group were taken on Day 0 prior to the start of therapy. After the third day of therapy, additional test group samples were taken from patients who took ACTs and paracetamol simultaneously. Six groups were created from all the blood samples collected; these groups included the pre-drug administration [9].

For biochemical and haematological tests, collected blood samples were extracted into plain and lithium heparin vials, respectively. These samples were tested for typical toxicity indicators in accordance with industry standards. Prior to centrifugation, samples collected in simple bottles were allowed to coagulate at room temperature. The Hettich centrifuge (Rototix 32A, Germany) was used and ran at 4000 rpm for 10 minutes. Using sterile syringes, the sera samples were carefully taken out and placed into plain containers. UK; ISE 4000 SFRI, France) was used to measure the vital biochemical indicators, including the pancreatic index (serum glucose), renal indices (creatinine, sodium ion, potassium ion, urea, and bicarbonate), liver indices (aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, conjugated bilirubin, total bilirubin (Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein and total triglycerides). The automated haematological multichannel analysis was used to measure hematopoietic indices.


This study has established that altering haematological and biochemical parameters are a crucial tool in determining the hazardous fate of medications because none of the patients experienced serious side effects. It supports the idea of treating malaria that isn't complicated. The deleterious effects of ACTs as previously described in the various organs/systems evaluated for toxicity may have been altered by the use of paracetamol. There aren't many studies on Paracetamol’s role in antimalarial combination medicines. In contrast to earlier studies, which investigated the adverse effects of two or more ACTs, this study compared the adverse effects of five routinely used ACTs at therapeutic levels. This study also confirmed that paracetamol can be used safely in standard doses with ACTs in people, eliminating the need for animal testing. Although the weights did not vary considerably throughout the therapy period, people with thin and heavy weight values should still use paracetamol with caution because repeated exposures to the drug or switching from one ACT to another could change a parameter. Although repeated treatment in areas with a higher malaria incidence rate and long-term effects could be dangerous [10].

The main issue in this study, regardless of the adjusted parameters, is the potential interactions, which may be antagonistic, additive, or synergistic. The study's findings demonstrated that the combination of ALP, ASPP, and DHPP significantly reduced serum glucose. Combinations may be safe for hyperglycaemic people, according to this. When ACTs and paracetamol are combined, there may be more of an undesirable synergy, as seen by the increasing effect that was seen with ASPP and DHPP. This implies that diabetic people could be advised to avoid ASPP and DHPP. This study's finding that AAP and AMP have a lowering effect on serum glucose levels is consistent with past reports in which amodiaquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine were taken singly in both situations. The effects of complex malaria may further exacerbate hypoglycaemic symptoms. Additionally, the integrity of the pancreatic beta cells may vary, which could result in a higher use of glucose [11, 12].

When combined with paracetamol, the decrease in serum glucose readings found with various ACTs may potentially help diabetic individuals who already have serious microvascular problems. This may be accomplished by a molecular pathway that is connected to a frequent upstream occurrence and excessive superoxide production by the electron transport chain. Also noted were ACTs and their interaction with paracetamol. Combinations that activate these pathways may result in the subsequent generation of reactive oxygen species and a rebound effect.


When the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the medicine are known, the best course of treatment can be chosen. However, choosing the best dose for older persons to take poses a difficulty due to age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics as well as the rise in interindividual variance. Even if there is insufficient pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics evidence to support a dose reduction for fragile older persons, paracetamol is still the preferred first-line analgesic for non-malignant pain. Older, weak adults may see the similar decrease in toxicity that has been observed in animal research. Understanding how variations in drug clearance and toxicity are impacted by ageing and frailty can help older persons use this effective painkiller and many other medications more effectively.



Conflict of Interest



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Citation: Adams R, Advar J (2022) Paracetamol’s Hepatic Pharmacology and Toxicology: Age-Related Changes. Farmacologiay Toxicologia, Vol. 12 No. 4: 119