Australia’s medicines watchdog is considering restricting access to the most commonly used painkiller in the world amid a rise in overdoses.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is investigating whether making paracetamol less available would help to counter accidental and deliberate overdoses in adults and children.
‘Paracetamol is the most widely used pain relief medicine in the world that is available without a prescription,’ the TGA said in a statement this week.
‘Restrictions are in place, through the Poisons Standard, on the pack size and strength of paracetamol are allowed via general retail (supermarkets and convenience stores), pharmacy or pharmacist-only sale.’
Paracetamol (pictured) is the most commonly used non-prescription pain relief medicine in the world
The TGA said it was aware of concerns from families and healthcare professionals regarding the number of poisonings and deliberate overdoses from paracetamol.
Many had obtained the medicine from general retail outlets, the watchdog said.
The investigation will compare paracetamol overdoses across the country with other over-the-counter pain relief drugs to determined if strict buying limits should be imposed.
‘This report is intended to assist the TGA in considering whether any changes to the scheduling of paracetamol, including access or purchasing controls, may be warranted,’ the TGA said.
The report is scheduled to be completed in July.
The TGA is investigating whether access to paracetamol should be restricted (stock image)